2019 Housing Alliance Endorsements
In addition to our priority agenda, the Housing Alliance also supports a number of proposals from members, advocates, Legislators, and our housing finance agency, Oregon Housing and Community Services. These proposals would create resources and programs to help people access stable housing, develop more affordable housing, stabilize families in their homes, and address homelessness. The Housing Alliance is endorsing and supporting:
- Increasing our supply of permanent supportive housing across the State: Permanent supportive housing is one of the key solutions to ending homelessness for people who experience health conditions, mental health issues, or addictions disorders. The Governor’s Budget proposes, and the Legislature should commit $50 million in General Obligation Bonds to help develop new supportive housing across Oregon. OHA would commit project based rent assistance vouchers to the projects.
- Targeted resources to address child and family homelessness: The proposal was developed by Governor Brown’s Children’s Cabinet requests, and the Legislature should commit $20.5 million to address child and family homelessness. A portion of requested resources ($6.5 million) would go to the existing DHS Housing Stability Program, which is distributed to Community Action agencies to serve families receiving assistance from DHS. The remainder ($14 million) would be offered by competitive proposal to provide long term flexible funding to stabilize and house families with kids.
- Addressing hunger issues through the Oregon Hunger Response Fund: All too often, families face choices between putting food on the table and paying the rent. The Oregon Hunger Response Fund provides critical funds to support the regional network of emergency food banks and food providers across Oregon. The Legislature should commit $4.2 million in general fund to maintain this vital network and ensure people have food.
- Earned Income Tax Credit Renewal and Expansion: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low and moderate income workers with a boost to their household budgets. In 2020, the state EITC will sunset. In 2019, advocates will be seeking to renew the credit, as well as expand the credit. Currently the state EITC is 8% of the federal credit for most eligible recipients, and 11% of the federal credit for eligible recipients with young children (under age 3). Advocates will be seeking to both renew the state EITC, as well as increase it to 20% of the federal credit for all households, and 25% of the federal credit for households with children under age 3. Advocates will also seek to make the state credit available to households with a federal tax id number but no social security number. The Legislature should renew and raise the EITC.
- Addressing missing middle housing through zoning: Allowing duplexes, triplexes, quads, and cottage clusters in cities of a certain size will increase housing options for changing needs in communities. Historically, single-family only zoning has been used to exclude people who rent their homes and people of color. The Legislature should approve this change to expand housing options.
- Supporting Private Market Renters: OHCS and the Governor’s Office are requesting, and the Legislature should approve $20 million, which could include resources for legal assistance, expanding capacity for a tenants’ rights hotline, navigator services for voucher recipients, expansion of rent well classes, and other possible supports for landlords and tenants. Funds would be issued by competitive RFP.
- Renewal of the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit: The Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit builds affordable housing for agricultural workers and their families, both on-farms and in communities. The tax credit will sunset in 2020, and the Legislature should extend the credit until 2026.
- Allow the transient lodging tax to be used to support affordable housing: Today, seventy percent of transient lodging tax revenue is required by law to be used to promote tourism and to build tourism infrastructure. This bill would allow local communities to divert up to 30% of resources currently set aside only for tourism promotion to be used to support needed workforce affordable housing for people earning up to 120% of area median income. The Legislature should approve this change.
- Property Tax Exemption Sunset Renewal: Many Oregon communities use local option property tax exemptions to help build and support affordable housing. The Multiple Unit Limited Tax Exemption, or MULTE is used by the City of Portland to support affordable housing. The Legislature should extend the sunset on this exemption for ten years.
- Greater Oregon Housing Accelerator: The housing accelerator includes resources and incentives to build housing across Oregon, and fosters collaboration between local governments, employers, and developers. The request is included in the Governor’s Budget, and the Legislature should commit $15 million to OHCS, and $1.4 million to DLCD to support collaboration and development.
- Adequate staffing to support housing development: Currently, OHCS and staff at the Department of Justice which provide services to OHCS are understaffed, causing delays in contracts and project awards. Additional OHCS staff to deliver programs, provide agency support, and enable the department to more efficiently and effectively deliver current programs will increase efficiency across the continuum of housing needs. The Legislature should increase OHCS position authority.
- Attainable Market Rate Housing Acquisition Fund: Today, we have low-cost market rate housing which is at risk of loss through sale or extreme rent increases. These properties that offer rents at or below market rate, but are not currently restricted or regulated. OHCS is requesting, and the Legislature should commit $15 million to create the acquisition fund, which, with joined by private capital, would acquire these types of properties and ensure they remain affordable for ten years.
- Support Manufactured Home Park Residents and Park Preservation: There are two existing laws which protect residents of manufactured home parks: A capital gains tax exemption for sale of a manufactured home park to a non-profit, housing authority, or resident owned cooperative; and the tax credits for residents whose park is closed. The Legislature should extend the sunset on both the exemption and the credit to protect residents of manufactured home parks.
- Manufactured Home Park Preservation Loan Fund: Across Oregon, manufactured home parks are at risk of sale or closure. This proposal would increase efforts to preserve manufactured home parks by creating a fund to assist with purchase. The Legislature should commit $3 million to this preservation fund.
- Manufactured Home Replacement: Today, thousands of Oregonians live in manufactured homes that were built before stricter laws were implemented by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for health, safety, design, and materials. These homes are unhealthy, and extremely inefficient to heat or cool. Replacing homes for people with low and moderate incomes will improve health outcomes and reduce energy costs. These two bills include, and the Legislature should commit: funding to decommission and deconstruct older manufactured homes ($500,000); and a new loan product which would be a subordinate loan to help homeowners replace their older homes without a significant cost ($2 million). Together, these two proposals would help 100 homeowners replace their older outdated manufactured homes.
- Support the expansion of the Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative: The Oregon IDA Initiative provides Oregonians with low incomes access to a matched savings program to help purchase a first asset such as a house, an education, or to start or expand a small business. In 2019, the Legislature should expand this Initiative to $15 million. Endorse this proposal.
- Receivership Program Improvements: A technical fix is needed to improve receivership laws to allow cities to more effectively deal with abandoned homes in disrepair. This proposal seeks to allow cities to use a lien to foreclose on properties which are empty and blighted, and then, if the city so chose, they could donate the properties to non-profit developers for rehabilitation. The Legislature should pass this fix.
- Healthy Homes: Homeowners with low incomes need assistance to maintain their homes safety, and help them to age in place. This proposal includes: funds to be allocated by RFP to provide basic health and safety repairs; funds to maximize federal and state weatherization programs by allowing community action agencies to make critical home repairs in conjunction with federal and state weatherization resources; and a revolving fund to make health and safety improvements, later reimbursed by a CCO or health provider. The Legislature should commit $15 million, including $2 million one-time funds.
- Mortgage Interest Deduction Reform: Oregon spends one billion dollars per biennium to subsidize homeownership through the mortgage interest deduction, and most of the benefit goes to people with higher incomes. Modest changes to the mortgage interest deduction would provide resources for critical programs like emergency rent assistance, and supporting access to affordable homeownership. The proposal would phase out the deduction for homeowners earning between $200,000 and $250,000, with homeowners earning more than $250,000 no longer receiving the deduction. In addition, the deduction would no longer be available for second homes. Savings from this change would support children and families experiencing homelessness, and help people access affordable homeownership. The Legislature should reform this housing subsidy.
The Oregon Housing Alliance is convened by the nonprofit Neighborhood Partnerships