Housing Opportunity Update – Feb. 17

We’re trying a new weekly update format. Let us know if you love it or hate it. 

1. Turning Socks Into Homes

  • The Emergency Housing Assistance/State Homeless Assistance Program (EHA/SHAP) funding suffered during the recession.
  • In 2014, we were able to get funding back to 2007 levels.
  • Now it is time to try to meet current demand by asking the legislature for $20m for the next biennium. [One pager, Bill]
  • In order to galvanize statewide support we’re collecting 20,000 socks to represent the 20,000 students who experienced homelessness last year. [website with drop off spots] [donate on Amazon]
  • On Housing Opportunity Day socks will be piled on the capitol steps and then donated. [Housing Opportunity Day] 

2. Making Housing a State Priority

  • Housing is a critical piece of what determines quality of life. [Housing Alliance]
  • However, housing hasn’t been well integrated into statewide policy conversations.
  • HB 2442 will support Oregon Housing and Community Services as it re-structures to assume a stronger leadership role in statewide housing conversations and policy. [Bill]
  • The bill will have another public session and possibly even a work session this week. We expect that a few more amendments will be considered.

3. Making GO Bonds More General

  • General Obligation (GO) bonds have long been used to finance infrastructure that we deem necessary.
  • The Oregon Constitution currently allows Oregon Housing and Community Services to issue bonds to support the development of housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
  • HJR 17 would allow these bonds to fund housing for residents with low incomes regardless of age or disability status. [Bill]
  • We will continue exploring how bonding can increase the supply of affordable homes.

4. ODOT and Affordable Homes

  • Oregon needs land for housing development that is located near opportunity areas and available for sale or development at a manageable cost.
  • HB 2620 will require ODOT to provide an inventory of available land. [Bill]
  • ODOT routinely reviews properties to determine whether the parcel is surplus to future needs.
  • The law requires ODOT to first offer parcels to other state agencies, then to local government entities before offering it for sale to the public.
  • We want to ensure that if at all possible, this public resource is used to ensure affordable housing opportunities are available to more members of our communities.
  • We will continue to work with ODOT to find the best way of achieving this.

5. Technically Helpful

  • Right now in order for nonprofit farm labor housing to qualify for a tax exemption OR-OSHA and the Fire Marshall must provide a certification.
  • This process no longer satisfies that purpose for newer community-based farmworker housing where OR-OSHA has no jurisdiction.
  • HB 2610 would update the eligibility requirements of the statute to ensure applicability to current housing models. [Bill]
  • The technical fix is scheduled for a work session and we expect it to move out of the first committee and on its way to the House Committee on Revenue.

Next Up

  • HB 2610 – Work Session on Wednesday, February 18 in House Human Services and Housing Committee
  • HB 2564 – Public Hearing on Monday, February 23 in House Human Services and Housing Committee
  • HB 2442 – Public Hearing and possible Work Session on Friday, February 20 in House Human Services and Housing Committee