Updated April 20, 2017
Housing is one of the most important issues discussed at the Oregon Legislature this session, and the Housing Alliance has a comprehensive agenda to help meet the full spectrum of Oregon’s housing needs. Legislators around the state recognize the importance of a place to call home and the challenges that are facing their communities. We’ve seen great progress on our 2017 Housing Opportunity Agenda since the Legislative session began in February and we’re continuing to move full speed ahead. We are now approaching a deadline for bills to receive a first work session. Here is a brief update on where our bills stand.
Resources to meet Oregon’s housing needs
We had a chance to highlight major priorities at the Oregon Housing and Community Services budget hearing on March 15, 16, and 20. Advocates and stakeholders from around the state came to provide testimony on the importance of investing in safe, stable, and affordable homes for all Oregonians. On March 20, people highlighted key priorities including:
- $50 million in funding for emergency rent assistance to prevent homelessness and move people back into housing through Emergency Housing Account, and the State Homeless Assistance Program to support emergency shelters;
- Investing $100 million in the preservation of existing affordable homes throughout Oregon;
- Creating more affordable housing, both rentals and homeownership units, through $100 million in Local Innovation and Fast Track affordable housing program bonds;
- Protecting existing homeowners with foreclosure counseling.
Housing stability for renters
With the support of the Stable Homes for Oregon Families Coalition, we reached a big milestone in the campaign to protect the 4 in 10 Oregonians who rent their homes. HB 2004 would protect tenants by limiting no-cause evictions and allowing local governments to implement rent stabilization policies. The bill passed out of the House on April 4 and now moves to the Senate, where it has been referred to the Human Services Committee. The Stable Homes for Oregon Families Coalition is hosting their next lobby day on April 12.
New revenue for housing opportunity
The document recording fee is the only source of dedicated revenue for affordable housing. HB 3357 would increase the fee to $40, helping to fund development of affordable housing, helping to support affordable homeownership, and emergency rent assistance. A public hearing was held before House Human Services and Housing on March 21. It passed out of committee and is now in the House Committee on Revenue.
Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit
The Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit helps fund development and preservation of affordable housing. The credit expires in 2020. HB 2852 would renew the credit, and increase the cap to $25 million (currently $17 million) to develop and preserve more homes for people with low incomes, as well as provide new tools to capitalize on the value of the tax credit. The bill passed out of House Human Services and Housing and is now in the Joint Committee on Tax Credits.
Capital gains tax exemption
As Oregon’s real estate market heats up, HB 2879 would provide an incentive in the form of a capital gains tax exemption, helping to preserve our inventory of affordable homes. The bill received a public hearing before the House Committee on Revenue on April 12.
Affordable homeownership opportunities
Homeownership is a powerful path to housing stability, and Oregon must dramatically increase its supply of affordable homeownership units. HB 2570 would establish a revolving loan fund that would enable nonprofit developers to create more affordable homes for purchase. The bill has passed out of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing and is now before Ways and Means. We are also supporting a number of other homeownership priorities, including funding for the Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance program.
Housing Alliance support agenda items
- Funding for 211info, the Oregon Hunger Response Fund, the General Assistance Program, and restoration of the Fairview Trust to provide community housing opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities are all under consideration Department of Human Services budget hearings (SB 5526).
- Building code changes to tiny homes (HB 2737): Passed out of House Business and Labor
- Increase participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit Program (SB 398): Passed out of the Senate.
- Rental Assurance Fund for Tenants (HB 2724): Passed out of House Human Services and Housing; referred to Ways and Means.
- Land acquisition program (HB 2912): Passed out of House Human Services and Housing; referred to Ways and Means.
- Joint Oregon Housing and Community Services and Department of Land Conservation and Development positions (HB 3373): Passed out of House Human Services and Housing and referred to Ways and Means.
- Agricultural Workforce Housing Operations Tax Credit (SB 1): Passed out of Finance and Revenue; referred to Joint Committee on Tax Credits.
- New tools for the preservation of existing affordable housing (HB 2002): Passed out of House Human Services and Housing; referred to Ways and Means.
- Down payment assistance (HB 3192): Passed out of House Human Services and Housing; referred to Ways and Means.
- Fund for repair and rehabilitation of existing homes (HB 2961): Passed out of House Human Services and Housing; referred to Ways and Means.
- Mortgage interest deduction reform (HB 2006): Public hearing before House Human Services and Housing held on March 9. This bill did not meet the first chamber deadline. Learn more.
- Support for people experiencing homelessness through the Right to Rest Act (HB 2215). This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and did not meet the first chamber deadline.
You can view our full support agenda here.
Next Housing Opportunity Day
Consider joining us on Thursday, May 18 for our next Housing Opportunity Day. This time around, we’ll split up into issue-area teams and focus on our key priorities. Stay tuned for more details!