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Struggling Bend family finds help

Published On: Mar 27 2014 11:20:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2014 01:38:36 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Wanda Moore talked to a Bend family, struggling to find affordable housing in Bend.

BEND, Ore. -

Affordable housing on the High Desert is hard to come by. Recent statistics show  there's less than 1 percent vacancies in Bend.

It's a situation that makes it especially hard for low-income families like the Anguianos in Bend.

"He was diagnosed with kidney failure when he was four months old," Yaneth Anguiano said Thursday of her now 2-year old son, Abraham. "He went into dialysis and he's been on dialysis ever since."

Although the family has insurance, the medical bills kept piling up.

"With every single paycheck I felt like we don't have enough money," said Jose Anguiano.

Travel costs going to Portland for Abraham's treatments only made matter worse. With $40,000 income a year for a family of four, the Anguianos barely made ends meet. Then, Jose lost his job.

"It was a really painful situation -- I mean, a really scary thought. How are we going to live from now on?" Jose said.

The options were limited, and a homeless shelter was not a possibility.

"Just the thought about it, with our son like this. We can't do that," Jose said.

The Anguianos aren't alone. More and more families in Central Oregon struggle to find affordable housing.

Luckily for the Anguianos, NeighborImpact found subsidized housing for the family.

"We are being deluged with people coming in from the Bend area, asking for help through our housing stabilization program," said Scott Cooper, executive director of NeighborImpact, a 21 Cares for Kids partner. "We have no more resources than we've ever had -- In fact, we have probably less."

The city of Bend is working on changing that and creating more affordable housing. One way is through a local affordable housing fee on building permits.

The fee is up for re-evaluation every two years, and the city now is looking at making it permanent. The first reading on the issue will be at next Wednesday night's city council meeting.

"Any time that we can help people with lower income get housing, that just frees up housing for everyone else," said city Affordable Housing Manager Jim Long.

While Jose Anguiano and his family are glad they found affordable housing through NeighborImpact, he says there are many others who aren't as lucky.

"I have heard about a lot of families who are struggling finding a job, finding a place to live," he said.

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