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Nowadays, many citizens struggle to afford the detrimental cost of rent. It is increasing so much that many people aren’t able to afford to pay it. How can it be that salaries and employment levels are improving; yet people are still struggling to afford a place to live? Furthermore, the prices of housing have skyrocketed recently but wages have hardly moved. The fact of the matter is, those with a low income simply cannot afford to live in urban cities. Wages simply cannot keep up with the cost of real estate.

One city in particular, Portland, OR, has seen this problem firsthand. In this city, high housing costs have led to a disproportionately high percentage of homeless. According to the Portland Tribune, Oregon far exceeds the national average of homelessness. A report recently found Oregon’s general population represents 1.3 percent of the total U.S. population, yet its homeless population is twice as large at 2.6 percent. In addition, there are also 156,000 households on the edge of homelessness, which includes households who spend at least 50 percent of their income on rent. The lack of affordable housing has lead to high rent burdens, overcrowding, and substandard housing.

Thankfully, the NECA/IBEW Powering America Team has been able to offer a solution to the city of Portland, OR. The simple answer to this problem is: build. This isn’t always the fix for developers; however, one bright new example is what will open in Portland, Oregon in 18 months, thanks to NECA/IBEW Powering America Team.

The new Grand Avenue Apartments in the Lloyd District will have 240 units when they are finished, and will include a mixture of studio, one and two bedrooms apartments. This will be the city’s largest affordable housing development in 50 years. Together with Home Forward, O’Neill Construction Group, EC Electric and IBEW Local 48 have nearly completed a new apartment complex.

The only way to create a solution to the affordable housing crisis is how the NECA/IBEW Powering America Team have been working together with the city and developers to provide these affordable apartments, and hopefully more like them in the future. Affordable housing has seen a boom for the construction industry in Portland, Oregon.

On the outside, this project might seem to be your average, everyday project. On the inside, there are fire alarms, a distributed antenna system, telecommunications, access controls and security, and a 3000-amp system.

Portland and the entire Pacific Northwest are within an affordable housing crisis, but this project and others to come will help to reverse the affects and provide an opportunity for all people to have a safe place to live.