Thoughts from the Housing Alliance on the Existing Resources Budget Framework

The Oregon Housing Alliance believes that we must come together to meet the needs of the people impacted by the housing crisis, and lay a foundation of opportunity for every Oregonian—through good budget cycles and bad. The need to create this opportunity is even more dire as our affordable housing crisis is hurting families and communities throughout the entire state. We know how to prevent and end homelessness, and to create new affordable housing—and we must make meaningful investments to solve the problems facing our communities

On Thursday, January 19, the Co-Chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, Senator Richard Devlin and Representative Nancy Nathanson, released their “existing resources budget framework,” which assumed no new revenue for the upcoming state budget for 2017-19. The framework acknowledged what we have known for quite some time—there is a gap between our state’s revenues, and the expenditures needed to make our state a place where every resident can thrive. The Legislature must grapple with a staggering $1.8 billion shortfall, and there is no plan on the table that would fill this gap – let alone make needed investments in opportunity, safety, and protection for Oregonians.

Many difficult choices were made in the budget framework, including proposed cuts to key services such as emergency rent assistance that will impact the most vulnerable of Oregonians. The budget framework released is just the beginning of the conversation, albeit a challenging one. Decades of choices made by Oregon’s elected officials and voters have created a gulf between the state we aspire to be, and the resources available to achieve it. We are asking the Legislature and the Governor to come together to find revenue solutions that will help make our goal of a vibrant and strong Oregon, where everyone has a place to call home—along with access to other fundamental services that create opportunity for every Oregonian.

After the next economic and revenue forecast, the Co-Chairs will release a recommended budget. In the meantime, we are asking you to weigh in. Throughout the state, housing is at the top of many Oregonians’ minds, either because they are directly impacted by housing instability, or because they see the impact of our housing crisis on their family, friends, and community. We have the tools we need to address this crisis, but we must provide sufficient funding so they can continue to improve the lives of Oregonians facing housing instability and homelessness. Find out who your Legislators are, and ask them to ensure there are resources for housing opportunity.

We will be working hard for meaningful investments in housing opportunity in 2017, and we call upon you to join us. Sign up for the Housing Alliance email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to find out what you can do to improve the lives of Oregonians facing housing instability.

You can read more about the Co-Chairs proposed budget framework here.