Envisioning the Future of the Housing Alliance


Oregon is at a critical juncture for housing opportunity, as communities in every part of the state face unprecedented challenges, including skyrocketing rents and home prices, record low vacancy rates, and thousands of Oregonians, including children, experiencing homelessness. The 2016 session may have just ended, but it’s already time to develop our legislative priorities and advocacy strategies. In 2017 and beyond, we need bold and decisive action to implement the policies and secure the resources to shore up and advance housing opportunity.

In its twelve-year history, the Housing Alliance has significantly expanded housing opportunity in Oregon. We now have more than 70 members encompassing a wide range of organizations, from nonprofit affordable housing developers to local governments to service providers to advocacy organizations, all recognizing the need for housing opportunity. We will need to work with our members and partners to re-envision the Housing Alliance to achieve them.

We have proposed new workgroups to focus more intensely on policy development around specific issues that have emerged. Not all of these workgroups and conversations will be convened by the Housing Alliance, but we intend to participate, encourage members to be involved, and share information. Our tentative—and likely incomplete—list of workgroups demonstrates the diversity and complexity of the landscape of housing opportunity:

  • Tenant protections
  • Affordable housing development and land use
  • Preservation of existing affordable units
  • Expanding access to homeownership
  • Homelessness
  • Housing and health
  • Veterans’ housing issues
  • Property tax exemptions for affordable housing

We are in the process of soliciting feedback and ideas from our membership. We will be convening initial meetings of the workgroups, and we anticipate all the workgroups and members coming together in early May to discuss our work. The Housing Alliance will work to foster new leadership teams in each of these areas and support them in cultivating legislative champions. To tie all of these workgroups together, we assume there will be a revamped Housing Alliance steering committee, and we are considering how we can best integrate the expertise of our lobbying teams, make issues of equity central to our work, bring new voices to the Housing Alliance, and complement and leverage the expertise of our partners and allies.

Housing opportunity is more urgent than ever before, and the Housing Alliance must grow and evolve to meet the challenges. We must draw upon each other and tackle this issue together.