Salem resident Paula Pena often slips cash into her father’s wallet when he’s not looking. The money is to help pay rent on a duplex in Northeast Salem.

After five years without an increase, her parents’ rent nearly doubled from $500 to $975 over 18 months when a new owner bought the property. Pena said her parents, retired and living on a fixed income, couldn’t afford the new rent.

Her parents are one example of hundreds of thousands of Oregon households who are affected by Oregon’s high cost of housing. The same trend has unfolded nationwide largely due to a shortage of new housing, said state economist Josh Lehner.

In Oregon and nationwide, construction of new homes has failed to keep up with demand.

Oregon needs about 150,000 more homes to meet residents’ needs, according to a recent report by Up for Growth, a national coalition that promotes higher housing density close to workplaces, stores, and transit.

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