2022 Legislative Recap: Policy Bills

In addition to the $400 million housing package, the Legislature had other important policy bills to consider related to housing assistance, homelessness, and more this session. While we were thrilled to see the $400 million package, we were disappointed to see some of our priorities left unfinished this legislative session.

Here are the highlights:

Housing Omnibus Bill (HB 4051): This bill contains three important changes, and was passed by the Legislature in 2022.

  • Extends the Task Force on Homelessness and Racial Disparities.
  • Extends key provisions of HB 2006, which created temporary flexibility for local governments to allow the siting of shelters for people experiencing homelessness, through July 1, 2023.
  • Fixes a small error to allow the full impact of SB 8 (2021) to be realized.

City and County Homeless Services Pilots (HB 4123): Creates and funds 8 pilot sites across Oregon to support cities and a county to work together to address homelessness. This proposal passed the House and Senate, and is awaiting Governor Brown’s approval.

Funding for 211 Info (Budget Request): $1 million to support 211 to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This was included in the final budget bill, HB 5202!

Support for emergency shelter and safety services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors: The state’s network of confidential, community-based, culturally specific, and Tribal Nation domestic and sexual violence service providers are struggling to meet increased need during this time of continued crisis. A $10 million for Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services fund (ODSVS) was included in the final budget bill, HB 5202!

Right to Cooling (SB 1536): This bill provides resources for cooling including air conditioners and ductless heat pumps for people with low incomes; requires that landlords allow tenants to install either window or portable air conditioners or provide cooled spaces for tenants, with certain regulations. This bill passed the Senate and the House, and is on its way to Governor Brown for her approval.

Equity Investment Act (SB 1579): The Equity Investment Act creates an program within Business Oregon to develop and award grants to organizations that provide culturally responsive services to support economic stability, self-sufficiency, wealth building, and economic equity among individuals and families of color, businesses owned by, and communities of color. The bill includes $15 million. It was approved by the Senate and the House, and is on its way to Governor Brown for her signature.

Manufactured Home Park Omnibus Technical Changes (HB 4064): This bill makes a range of technical changes to manufactured home park laws to protect people impacted by the wildfires of 2020, and makes it easier to build new manufactured home parks or place manufactured homes on privately owned land. The bill has passed both the House and the Senate. It is awaiting the Governor’s signature!

We were deeply disappointed to see that several important bills to the Housing Alliance did not move forward in 2022:

  • Preservation Capital Gains Tax Credit (HB 4043): HB 4043 creates a tax credit to incentivize the sale of affordable housing to a preservation minded buyer, in order to maintain the housing as affordable. 
  • Preservation Tenant Based Assistance (SB 1557): This proposal would create a pilot program to put in place a small rental subsidy to provide assistance to tenants to offset the cost of rent increases. This assistance would only be available to existing tenants while they remain in the unit, and would fund assistance for two properties – one in Washington County, and one in Marion County. 
  • Rent assistance for affordable housing providers (Budget Request): Affordable housing providers operate with an extremely limited ability to cover rent losses, and have a mission to help people maintain their housing. The Legislature should provide $15 million so affordable housing providers can alleviate rent debt for residents of affordable housing. 
  • Screening Fees (HB 4125): HB 4125 would create more transparency and strengthen requirements related to returning a screening fee. 

Other investments and bills of note. There were other related bills and budget investments that are worth noting: 

  • In HB 5202, the Legislature included $100 million for behavioral health housing. This investment will support people experiencing mental health issues through new residential treatment beds, short or long term rent assistance, and more. In addition, HB 4004 would increase wages for the workers at mental health providers.
  • SB 1518 was passed which creates a Task Force on Resilient and Efficient Buildings, which includes seats on the Task Force for people who develop affordable housing and represent affordable housing interests.
  • Oregonians who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2020 will receive $600 in emergency relief payments from the State through HB 4157. Oregonians with ITIN numbers who would have been eligible for the EITC in 2020 will also receive the benefit.