Residents Organizing for Change (ROC) is a statewide network of residents of affordable housing, those in need of, and front-line staff of affordable housing providers that are committed to advocating for safe, stable, and affordable housing for all Oregonians.

2021 ROC Policy Agenda

  • Prevent and End Homelessness (HB 5011): Across Oregon, we have a statewide system to distribute emergency rent assistance, rapid re-housing resources, and emergency shelter support through the Emergency Housing Account (EHA) and the State Homelessness Assistance Program (SHAP). Significant resources are needed to meet the needs of people experiencing housing instability. In 2021, the Legislature committed $40 million to these two programs (current service level), and $25 million in one-time funds for emergency shelter through HB 5011, the OHCS budget.
  • Right to Rest (HB 2367): The criminalization of homelessness harms our entire community: everyone deserves to be able to rest, to exist, and to be in public spaces. We know that public funds are drained by security and “clean-up” initiatives that ultimately work to further entrench our most vulnerable into poverty, and make it harder for folks to get back into homes. HB 2367 would ensure that all Oregonians have the right to exist in public space without the threat of harassment, citation, or arrest. This bill did not pass this session.
  • Protecting people experiencing homelessness from criminalization (HB 3115): People experiencing homelessness often are penalized for doing things many of us take for granted – sitting, sleeping, and keeping warm and dry. This type of law enforcement does not provide safety for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Enforcement of “quality of life” laws against people who have no alternative but to try to survive outside does nothing to help people get back into housing, and only creates more barriers.  The Legislature should provide basic protections to people experiencing homelessness so they do not face fines, fees, or arrests for activities of daily living. This bill passed!
  • Individualized Assessments (SB 291): People who rent their homes who have previous contact with the criminal justice system face additional barriers when trying to secure a new apartment. A landlord may discard their application automatically upon learning of a previous arrest or conviction, without considering the circumstances. SB 291 would require a individualized assessment by a landlord, and would prohibit landlords from screening people out for an arrest with no conviction, or previous criminal history for situations that are no longer illegal in Oregon. This bill passed!
  • Supporting runaway and homeless youth (HB 2544): Oregon has one of the highest rates of youth homelessness, including youth in the K-12 system, youth exiting the foster care system, and unaccompanied youth. The Legislature should invest resources in expanding an existing host home network, which provides a home for unaccompanied homeless youth while they finish high school; and expand existing shelter, mental health, transitional housing, and other services for Runaway and Homeless Youth. The Legislature included $3.6 million and passed HB 2544.
  • Long Term Rent Assistance Pilot for Former Foster Youth (HB 2163): Today, half of youth who experience homelessness become adults who are chronically homeless, meaning they have years of homelessness coupled with disabling conditions.  HB 2163 would seek to transform the outcomes for youth through a long term rent assistance pilot program that would provide stability and support to youth as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Long term rent assistance is an effective strategy to prevent homelessness and provide an opportunity for housing stability. This pilot proposal would provide $4.5 million to support youth who are no longer able to receive support through the foster care system or are experiencing homelessness without their families, with rent assistance. This bill passed, and included $4.5 million!
  • Long Term Rent Assistance Study Bill (HB 3184): In Oregon, three out of four households with extremely low incomes pay over half of their income towards rent. Households who experience a severe rent burden are at increased risk of homelessness. Long-term rent assistance is an effective strategy to prevent homelessness and provide an opportunity for affordable housing for people with low incomes around the state. However, existing resources are insufficient to meet the need. Federal tenant based or project based vouchers serve one in four households that are eligible for long term rental subsidies. In 2021, the Legislature should fund a cost analysis study to assess the cost of providing a long term rental assistance program to support Oregonians with low incomes. This bill did not pass this session.
  • Address Emergency Needs for Housing and Homelessness (HB 2006, HB 5042, HB 5006): Oregon doesn’t have enough shelter or affordable places to call home for everyone that needs one. Our state has one of the highest rates of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, meaning they are sleeping outside, in a tent, or a car. Our state must respond to the housing challenges our communities are facing by making serious investments in housing opportunity and safety.  HB 2006 removes barriers to siting shelters in our communities until July 1, 2022. This bill passed! HB 5042 and HB 5006 included funding for shelters and navigation centers for people experiencing homelessness across Oregon.
  • Preserve and Maintain existing affordable housing (HB 5006): Across Oregon, we need to maintain our supply of existing affordable housing, and reinvestment is needed to maintain safe, stable, and affordable homes. These funds are needed to help to maintain all regulated, multifamily affordable housing, as well as public housing and manufactured home parks. The Legislature committed $100 million in general fund dollars to meet needs to maintain existing affordable housing across Oregon!
  • Universal Rental Application (HB 2427): People who rent their homes face many barriers when trying to rent new apartment homes for themselves and their families. They may be forced to put in many applications, paying a new fee with each application. While the law requires landlords to return fees for applicants they do not screen, there are limited avenues for tenants to understand whether their application was screened or to advocate for the return of their fee. In addition, tenants are often filling out the same application over and over and over again. HB 2427 would create a universal rental application, and allow tenants to provide that application plus their own screening report and reduce costs when applying for a new apartment. This bill did not pass this session.

Questions? Email Reyna.