Proposal: The NOAH Alliance

I rather like the idea that some are talking about of a NOAH Alliance, composed of all the local providers of naturally occurring affordable housing (referred to as NOAH by some policy wonks) in Eugene — non-subsidized housing affordable to the average Eugene renter.

It is important to highlight the essential service these providers, from venerable housing co-ops to modern quads to rooming houses to homeowners renting modest ADUs, are doing for this community. Currently, most of them are not even known by most residents (especially homeowners).

A NOAH Alliance also evokes the image of lifting up our residents and sheltering them from catastrophe, which is literally the role of affordable housing in Eugene today. 

A visible NOAH Alliance could play an important role in encouraging other private property owners to join in this essential civic cause (for instance, by holding a workshop for Eugene homeowners wanting to build an inexpensive ADU).

The average renter makes $22K-$26K/year, so NOAH Alliance members would be those renting housing for $550-$650/month or less (30% of this income). 

The only question is who has time, resources, and social purpose to organize it … ?

ETA: There is a statewide CDFI called NOAH (Network for Oregon Affordable Housing), a Neighborhood of Affordable Housing in East Boston, and a NOAH Impact Fund (among others), so presumably no one has a lock on putting NOAH in the name of their organization.

Published by Sherri Schultz

Writer & change-maker exploring micro-dwelling in Eugene, Oregon. Founder of Springfield/Eugene MicroDwellers: .

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  1. I am all for what you suggest, and perhaps it would strengthen knowledge and resistance to investor-driven campaigns (like HB 2001) that will diminish the NOAH supply.

    I doubt the approach would scale, but it could do some good, When an advocate plants their feet in the low-income rental community, you get a whole different perspective than being in the “YIMBY” bubble. The real “crisis” is severe and large. To do significant “good” requires understanding the numbers, including how the market works and the dramatic crash in Federal funds for subsidized housing.

    Locally, the “faux”gressives (Vinis, Syrett, etc.) are also responsible. The CET implementation is a joke or swindle, take you pick. Meanwhile, they do nothing to take advantage of the huge amount of subsidy available through MUPTE.

    The Planning Division staff are way out of their league in doing real, on-the-ground, evidence-based planning. Instead, they waste enormous time in their little “sandbox” with the River Road/Santa Clara farce, “Missing Middle Housing,” the multimillion dollar, five-year “South Willamette Rezoning” that blew up spectacularly. This won’t change until voters clean house and replace Vinia, Syrett, Pryor, Zelenka, and a new council hires competent City Manager and Planning Director.

    BTW, be cautious about using “average rental,” which I take to be based on all rentals. The average HHI for truly house-burdened households is much lower, and they can’t even afford $550/month rent without impacting what they have available for other living necessities.

    — Paul


    1. I am a member of the HB2001 coalition and a strong supporter of all the projects you criticize, but I am going to pass over your many misstatements and mischaracterizations. I would rather spend time focusing on my own mission to share accurate information and spread awareness of the many innovations in lower-cost housing that are happening in cities outside Eugene.

      However, I share your dissatisfaction with the “average rent“ statistic — that is obviously a wide-ranging pool. Kindly let me know where to find the average studio/1BR rent, and the further breakdown of Eugeneans incomes below $25K.


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