United Way of the Columbia-Willamette believes that everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home. We are committed to housing justice and ensuring that all members of our community have access to safe, stable and affordable housing. Housing stability is the key to reducing intergenerational poverty and increasing economic mobility. Housing insecurity and homelessness have far-reaching consequences for the quality of American family life, the economy, and the future of housing stability, which is why we work to 
mobilize support and resources that improve housing security throughout our region.


Systemic inequalities continue to exist in our housing systems today, resulting in significant disparities in housing access, quality and stability between racial and ethnic groups. These disparities perpetuate poverty, health problems and social and economic disadvantage for individuals and communities of color. They result in a lasting impact on opportunities for success and well-being. Addressing these inequalities through a racial equity lens helps to ensure that all individuals have equal access to stable and affordable housing, regardless of their race or ethnicity, and can lead to more effective and just solutions to housing instability.


Oregon has a long history of housing discrimination that racially targeted people of color, particularly within the rental housing market. While policies and practices of discrimination have been banned, many practices of discrimination still exist that negatively impact communities of color.

Low-income households have struggled for decades to obtain housing stability. Over the last two decades, the average monthly rent in the Portland Metro area has increased by 83 percent. It became increasingly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, even for households above the poverty level, due to high job losses, underemployment and economic instability. Currently, an Oregonian earning the minimum wage of $13.50 an hour would need to work 68 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Housing and houselessness are complex issues with plenty of good work being done by many nonprofits and agencies in our region. At United Way, we focus on:

  • Eviction prevention for low-income tenants
  • Housing stability advocacy and legislation
  • Convening organizations working within the housing and houseless space to better address the needs of our community

Housing Stability Stories

Housing Stability

A Sheltering Shield: Eviction Legal Defense

Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024

In the intricate dance of life, there are moments when the music falters, and threat casts a daunting shadow over the hopes and dreams of individuals.

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