Home should be our safest space - a place that can serve as a core foundation of our health and where our families can thrive. Increasingly, the quality and stability of our housing is determined not only by our economic circumstances, but by our race, ethnicity, and immigration status. The current housing crisis impacts all Oregonians, but due to systemic barriers, some communities are impacted more than others.
For immigrants, refugees, and people of color, additional challenges include discriminatory rental practices, linguistic and cultural barriers, high mobility, lower levels of trust in public agencies, and under-reporting of poor conditions. For people of color and rural communities, systemic barriers emerge not only from profit-driven development, but also from poor housing placement, substandard farmworker housing, and regressive housing policy. Read our Housing Policy Brief (July 2016) to learn more.
Unite Oregon is working to address housing equity issues through:
Popular education curriculum development—Creating multi-lingual popular education workshops that build upon renters’ experience and innate knowledge of affordable housing challenges;
Leadership development—Infusing our current structured leadership development programs with curricula designed to identify and develop multi-ethnic affordable housing leaders;
Community-based research—Producing community based research documenting the problem and outlining community-validated solutions; and
Issue campaigns and large scale mobilization—Organizing tenants around affordable housing issue campaigns, developing strategy, identifying targets, and approaches to engage and mobilize those most impacted by policies to advocate for change.
Equitable Development in the SW Corridor
Since 2012, Metro and TriMet have been planning the Portland region's next MAX Line, which will run from downtown Portland to Tualatin's Bridgeport Village Mall, an area known as the "Southwest Corridor." Just like with any other big transit construction project, cities are already planning for new development along where the MAX line will run, and that means that working-class communities will be vulnerable to gentrification and displacement.
We believe that any and all development in the SW Corridor must benefit working-class folks, people of color, immigrants, and refugees - communities which have already faced mass gentrification and displacement from other parts of the Portland metro area. We work with cities, counties, Metro, and TriMet to ensure that this project does not unfairly burden already-struggling families, and to make sure that ALL residents of Tigard, Tualatin, and Portland get to enjoy the benefits.
To do that, we're working to ensure that working-class residents of the SW Corridor have a voice in this process so that new development is shaped by the community's needs, not the interests of private, for-profit developers and land-owners. We're engaging residents of Tigard, Tualatin, Portland, and unincorporated Washington County to make sure our communities know what's coming in the months and years ahead. We're lifting up the community's vision for affordable and accessible housing, jobs, public transit, entrepreneurship opportunities, and more - and making sure that policymakers hear us loud and clear.
To learn more about our work in the SW Corridor, please contact Cristina Palacios at [email protected].