Oregon Legislature creates housing opportunity!

The Oregon Legislature adjourned “sine die” (meaning: without a day to reconvene) on Saturday, March 3. Our Housing Opportunity Agenda was hugely successful this session!

Our priority item was a significant increase to the document recording fee through HB 4007C. The document recording fee was created in 2009 – it supports housing opportunity by preventing and ending homelessness; building and preserving more affordable rental housing; and helping people access affordable homeownership. In 2013, we were successful and increased the fee to serve veterans. Today, one out of every four dollars serves veterans experiencing housing instability.

HB 4007C increases the document recording fee for affordable housing from $20 to $60, and will raise an additional $60 million every biennium for affordable housing! HB 4007 also creates the First Time Home Buyer Savings Account, which would provide a small tax subtraction for first time home buyers, with moderate incomes who are saving for a home.

On Saturday, March 3, HB 4007C passed the House by a vote of 40-19 and the Senate, 20-9! This bill now heads to Governor Brown’s desk for her signature!

Huge thanks are owed to Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer, who championed this bill, House Speaker Tina Kotek for her leadership and incredible work to ensure it’s passage, and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick for her work on this bill. And lastly, a huge thank you to all of you – Housing Alliance members and supporters who emailed, called, visited, and talked to their Legislators about the importance of this proposal for creating housing opportunity in our communities. Thank you!

The Housing Alliance had other important priorities:

The Housing Alliance also worked with the Legislature to refer a constitutional amendment to voters that would give local jurisdictions more flexibility when they issue bonds for affordable housing (HJR 201A). HJR 201A refers a measure to voters that would change the constitution to allow local governments to lend their credit to benefit affordable housing. HJR 201 passed the House unanimously, and passed the Senate by a vote of 24-5 on Thursday, March 1.

We also had two priority technical fixes to existing law: the first would make a slight change to eligible entities for the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit; the second would extend a sunset for a property tax exemption for affordable housing. Both were included in the final version of HB 4028B, which is now headed to the Governor’s desk for her signature!

Several other proposals endorsed by the Housing Alliance also passed this session!

HB 4010A creates a taskforce to study and address racial disparities in homeownership. HB 4010A passed both the House and Senate, and is headed to the Governor’s desk for her signature;

The Governor’s office requested $5 million to address an unprecedented increase in the need for emergency shelter across Oregon. This request is fully funded in HB 5201A, which was passed by both the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk for her signature;

HB 4006B requires cities that have a high percentage of renters who are experiencing a severe rent burden (they spend more than half their income on rent) to hold a meeting and develop plans to address the problem. This bill includes financial resources to support local jurisdictions in this work, and to conduct a study of cost drivers of affordable housing. This bill passed both the House and Senate, and is headed to the Governor’s desk for her signature.

Thank you.
Thank you for all your incredible work this session to share your stories with Legislators, and tell them why housing opportunity is so important. The 2018 session was incredibly short (only 27 days!) but in that time, we made significant and meaningful progress to create opportunity through a stable home for more Oregonians.