Feb 24 Housing Opportunity Update

1. Big OHCS Hearing

  • The declining capacity of our homeless services providers to find permanent housing options for families is creating bottlenecks and driving up costs in other parts of the system.
  • High rates of foreclosure are driving more families into the rental market, which leads to higher rental prices.
  • The Emergency Housing Account, the State Homeless Assistance Program, and funding to ensure the continued success of the Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance (OFA) Program are critical to curtail the effects of these trends.
  • Funding for these programs is part of the conversation as the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development will hold public hearings about the Oregon Housing and Community Services Budget (SB 5513).


2. Halfway There

  • The state economists delivered the official Revenue Forecast last week. [OLIS]
  • Their data shows while in many ways, Oregon’s economy is recovering, there are many communities, many children, many grandparents left out of that recovery.
  • We have a ways to go to make sure that the stepping stones to prosperity are in place and stable for all Oregonians.
  • The Housing Opportunity Agenda is part of the solution.


3. New Governor. Same Hope.

  • Governor Kate Brown assumed her role after years of experience as a legislator, state elected official, and community leader.
  • She has a long history of work on behalf of Oregon families, communities, and children, and has been a good friend to those of us working to create housing opportunity over the course of her career.
  • Our operating assumption is that she will enthusiastically support the Housing and Community Services budget and the request for  $100 million in new resources for housing. We are excited to work with her, and welcome her steady hand at the helm of the Executive branch.


4. The Fast and the Legislative

  • We are near the deadline for measures to be introduced, and we expect to see all Housing Alliance policy bills move out of their initial committees and onto the floor for votes well before the April 21 deadline.
  • Budget discussions are beginning this week in Ways and Means, and will heat up in May and be resolved in June and the last days of the session.
  • Session must end by July 11th, but many hope to conclude before the 4th of July holiday.


5. Lift the Ban

  • Inclusionary Zoning policies have the potential to give families and individuals more choice about where they live, which schools their children attend, and how to commute to work.
  • The statewide preemption on Inclusionary Zoning keeps this potentially useful tool from being used to meet housing needs in our state.
  • The ban has also created a significant chilling effect on development efforts across communities aimed at creation of “inclusive” housing opportunities, especially in smaller jurisdictions with limited resources.
  • The bill to repeal the statewide preemption was heard Feb. 23 in the House Human Services and Housing Committee. (HB 2564)

Photo Credit: Welcome Home Coalition.


6. Opportunity Knocks with Socks

  • We are well on our way of meeting our goal of collecting 20,000 pairs of socks to demonstrate the need for more resources to prevent and end homelessness. [Donate here]
  • Now it’s time to drive the message home. Your legislators need to hear from you and others from your communities.
  • Join us on March 11 to remind our policymakers that if we want to meet our education, health, environmental, and other state goals, we must begin with housing. [Reserve your spot]