Recap: House Interim Human Services and Housing

Oregon_State_Capitol_1On Tuesday, November 17, the Housing Alliance participated in a House Committee on Human Services and Housing informational meeting to urge legislators to action on the statewide affordable housing crisis. Advocates from around the state told the committee what can be done in 2016 to ensure more Oregonians have access to housing opportunity.

Neighborhood Partnerships Executive Director Janet Byrd worked with committee chair Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer to assemble a stellar slate of advocates and affected community members.


Some of the highlights included Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, detailing the acute homelessness crisis in her city and calling upon legislators to convene a work group in 2017; Marih Alyn-Claire of Tenants Priced Out, who spoke to how aging tenants are being forced out of their homes due to skyrocketing rents; and Kolini Fusitua, a case manager at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, who described the displacement of refugee families: “We lose access to community resources, and it’s our children who are paying the price.”

Now that legislators are listening, it’s time to push for action. Janet finished the hearing by calling upon legislators “to really take bold and decisive action in 2016” to have an immediate impact, including:

  • Protecting tenants with a one-year pause on no-cause evictions and excessive rent increases
  • Fully funding emergency housing assistance and foreclosure counseling to reduce and prevent homelessness
  • Planning for the future by investing $60 million in the development and $17.5 million for the preservation of affordable housing

Ultimately, we will need a comprehensive housing package to stabilize our state’s housing situation, but we can’t wait until 2017 to take action. As Marih Alyn-Claire noted, “The problem is, they can’t build [housing] fast enough for people whose lives are about to go over a cliff.” But there are many strategies the legislature can pass during the short session to help all Oregonians have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.

You can see a recording of the hearing here.

We Need You

This hearing is just the first step toward legislative changes that will keep Oregonians housed. But we need your support to make it happen. Members of the Housing Alliance, please keep an eye out for emails on upcoming membership meetings. Want to be part of the change? Get involved by contacting Jenny Lee at Neighborhood Partnerships at (503) 226-3001 x112 or

Organizations who testified included: the Community Alliance of Tenants, Tenants Priced Out, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, and Northwest Housing Alternatives, as well as private sector rental housing and development associations. Public partners included: Oregon Housing & Community Services, City of Eugene, City of Portland Housing Bureau, and the Washington County Housing Authority.