Session Update 6/19/13

We continue to make progress on items on the Housing Opportunity Agenda! Though the end of the session is in sight and we have accomplishments to celebrate, there is still a lot to do to before we wrap up. We need your continued support!

EHA/SHAP Funding Support Letters

One of our priorities this session is to restore funding for the Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program. These critical safety net programs help prevent or end homelessness and provide emergency shelter. It is not too late to weigh in. Though the Housing and Community Services budget approved by the Ways and Means Committee and passed by the House does not restore funding for EHA/SHAP, we have one last chance to get the funding this session. To ensure these programs are supported through budget negotiations, we need a strong showing of letters of support.

Please take a minute to e-mail the Co-Chairs of the Ways and Means Committee to show your support for EHA/SHAP. You may find talking points here. Please contact Alison or Omar if you would like more information. 


First, our accomplishments so far:

  • SB 558, to ensure that homeowners facing foreclosure in Oregon have access to mediation prior to foreclosure, was signed into law by the Governor on June 4, 2013! Though this is a great step forward, there will still be work to do through the rule making process to make sure that the bill works as intended and to make sure counseling and legal services are available to help homeowners take advantage of this opportunity. We will also need to work with the Ways & Means Committee in the interim and February to ensure this program has the resources it needs to operate effectively.
  • The City of Portland’s property tax exemption bill for the Homebuyer Opportunity Limited Tax Exemption Program, HB 2349, was signed into law by the Governor yesterday, June 18, 2013. HB 3112, which clarifies that property owned by political subdivisions that is used for affordable housing or is leased or rented to persons with lower incomes is exempt from property taxes, was also signed by the Governor on June 13, 2013.
  • HB 2316, which ensures that eligible participants with modest retirement savings are not turned away from the Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative due to current limits, was signed by the Governor on June 4, 2013.
  • An improvement to the Senior & Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program, HB 2510, passed in passed in both chambers! It is now off to the Governor for a signature. HB 2489, which passed earlier in the session, granted permanent eligibility to those currently in the program and this bill adds about 700 more homeowners.

Items on our Agenda still pending:

  • The Housing Alliance bill that proposes an increase to the real estate document recording fee by $5 to address a range of housing needs for Veterans (HB 2417) have a work session in the Joint Ways and Means Committee on Friday, June 21, 2013.
  • HB 2639, which provides tenants with Housing Choice Vouchers the opportunity to be screened like all other tenants, had a public hearing in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development on May 16, 2013. We expect it will be scheduled for a work session soon.
  • Our request for $20 million in Lottery Backed Bonds for preservation of existing federally subsidized housing is under consideration by the Capital Construction Subcommittee of Ways and Means.
  • We expect the bill to extend the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit (HB 2980), a key tool for housing development, will move soon, along with the Earned Income Tax Credit extension and expansion, the Manufactured Home Park Tax Credits, and other tax credits.
  • Efforts to protect Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and to add funds to the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund and the Oregon Hunger Response Fund continue. These items will be determined through the budget process.  A bill to study General Assistance (HB 2712) is still pending as well.

Please feel free to contact Alison, Janet, or Omar with questions at any time.