By Aaron West

The Bulletin

The gulf between the amount of affordable housing in Redmond and Prineville and the number of people who could potentially use it is greater than any other city in Central Oregon.

Out of the 11,740 households in Central Oregon cities that make 60 percent or less of the area’s median income, 13 percent of them are in Prineville and 24 percent are in Redmond, according to a recent Housing Works analysis. And while that’s not as many as some of the other cities — 53 percent of those households are in Bend, for example — numbers from Central Oregon’s public housing authority show the amount of affordable housing units doesn’t adequately address the need in those two cities.

Of the 2,358 affordable housing units that exist in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, La Pine, Prineville and Madras, 20 percent are in Redmond and 9 percent are in Prineville.

“The biggest disparity is in Redmond and Prineville,” said Laura Cooper, vice chair of the Housing Works Board of Commissioners.

Bend has 55 percent of Central Oregon’s affordable housing — 1,307 units — and 53 percent of the households in the region that make 60 percent or less of the city’s AMI. And Madras, which is home to 9 percent of the households that make 60 percent or less, has 11 percent of Central Oregon’s affordable housing units.

“Relative to the need, Madras is overbuilt in affordable units,” Cooper said.

Sisters and La Pine, the other two Central Oregon cities Housing Works accounted for in its analysis, are both home to 2 percent of the households and 2 percent or less of the affordable housing units.

Affordable housing units are usually restricted to people who earn a certain percentage of an area’s median income, and 60 percent AMI is a common eligibility standard for people to qualify for affordable housing opportunities.

“Oftentimes, when we build projects we use that threshold,” Cooper said.

Those housing statistics, which were presented at Prineville’s City Council meeting Feb. 28, showed 40 percent of Prineville households make less than $25,000 in annual income. That puts them in “severe burden” territory in regard to housing costs, which means more than 50 percent of a household’s income goes toward housing.

“If you’re spending more than 50 percent of your income on rent, you’re probably not making other payments you need to be making,” Cooper said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829,