It would be difficult to live in Portland and not know that housing availability and affordability combine to test the public's will as never before. The most obvious manifestation of the housing crisis is seen in homelessness. More than 1,800 people sleep outside at night, but at least as many more spend their nights temporarily in public shelters and by makeshift arrangements, sometimes on the living room couches of friends and relatives.
Behind the homeless spectacle, however, lurks a larger piece of the problem: Thousands of Portland renters at the lower end of the income scale — wage workers and seniors on fixed incomes among them — suffer as apartment and house rents soar, with evictions looming. It is estimated that half of Portland families generating less than $37,000 a year for four people are unable to find a suitable rental space in a city now estimated to lack 24,000 affordable homes.
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