Yesterday I heard from an advocate for Salem's homeless who asked me to publicize this important message:
Advocate for low-income housing on Monday!
The Salem Housing Advisory Committee is asking that the City set aside 25% of the repurposed State Hospital property for low income housing. The Salem Housing Commission will receive this recommendation on Monday.
Time: 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Housing is first hour or so of meeting)
Location: City Hall, Council Chambers, Room 240.
Let's show up en masse in the early part of the evening to support more low income housing in Salem.
How about signs "Off our steps, off the streets-housing for the homeless now!"
Rally the troops....call or e-mail friends, other churches, etc.....
Show them the homeless have more advocates than the City ever realized!!!
Great idea. Salem's Mayor and City Council have been talking about solving this town's homeless problem for many years, but action has been minimal.
There's a couple of ways you can urge City of Salem officials to embrace the Salem Housing Advisory Committee recommendation that 25% of the 48 acres on the State Hospital North Campus should be repurposed into affordable housing.
(1) Speak up in person for the homeless and others who need affordable housing at the Monday, December 14, 6:30 pm meeting of the Salem Housing Commission in the Council Chambers at City Hall. (Eight of the nine Commission members are Salem's eight city councilors.)
The agenda shows that public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting. Three minutes is allowed for each commenter. Read the staff report about the State Hospital affordable housing proposal to learn more about what's being recommended. Or click on this PDF file.
Download Salem Affordable Housing Staff Report
(2) Email the Salem City Council, Mayor, City Manager, and other city officials at [email protected]
Tell them you support the proposal of the Salem Housing Authority Committee to allocate 25% of the repurposed State Hospital property for affordable housing. The Committee documents the need in its recommendation, as summarized by Salem Community Vision in a recent post:
SALEM HOUSING ADVISORY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS
12 ACRES OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT THE NORTH CAMPUS
On Monday night the Salem City Council (meeting as the Salem Housing Authority) will hear a recommendation from the Salem Housing Advisory Committee to plan for 12 acres of affordable housing at the North Campus site on Center Street.
Their report to Council notes that there are currently 5,254 residents on the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list.
Here's the takeaway quote from their report:
"Despite incentives and demand, private developers are not building apartments for poor people [in Salem]. Vouchers (housing subsidies) are useful, but not when there aren't enough units. In 2012, Salem had a significant deficit of nearly 6,400 affordable housing units for households earning less than $25,000 ... Given that the vacancy rate in Salem is near zero,and that one in four of those nearing retirement age has no retirement savings and no children, the situation is unlikely to improve without substantial public sector commitment sustained over the long term ..."
The currrent plan for the North Campus is to tear down all of the buildings except for the Dome Building and possibly Yaquina Hall and to offer it for sale to a developer. It seems like the Salem Housing Advisory Committee recommendation offers the Council an opportunity to consider a better plan to meet a real need in our community.
If you support the Housing Advisory Committee recommendation, consider testifying at the meeting on Monday night at 6:30 pm at City Hall or send comments to [email protected]