The Oregon House has responded to the state’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis by passing the $200 million Affordable Housing & Emergency Homelessness Response Package (House Bill 2001/House Bill 5019) with bipartisan support.
The package takes bold and effective action to help shelter Oregonians living on the street, prevent more homelessness, ramp up affordable housing production made in Oregon by Oregonians, and more, according to a release from Oregon House Democrats.
“Every Oregonian deserves to have access to safe and affordable housing in the community of their choice," Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland), who chairs the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness, said. “We have answered this moment of intense need with a swift and collaborative response. I am proud to put forth this package that will deliver relief to every corner of the state.”
“As a legislator representing parts of rural and coastal Oregon, it was important to me that we made sure our state’s response to homelessness be continuous and reach the 26 rural counties and hundreds of small cities and towns,” Rep. David Gomberg (D-Lincoln & Western Benton/Lane Counties) said. “This package achieves just that and will connect rural and coastal Oregonians living on the street with the critical services they need and on the path out of homelessness.”
“Too many families are just one paycheck away from being evicted. We’re responding with urgent and coordinated action to keep people housed and give our communities the stability they deserve,” Rep. Annessa Hartman (D-Gladstone, Oregon City and N Clackamas County) said.
The Affordable Housing & Emergency Homelessness Response Package achieves the following:
● Funds the Governor’s Homelessness State of Emergency: This $130 million investment will allow state agencies to unleash an urgent and coordinated response to address homelessness.
● Invests in rural and coastal communities: The package invests $27 million in the Rural Oregon Continuum of Care so that the response on the ground reaches rural and coastal Oregon.
● Prevents evictions that can lead to homelessness: This provides renters faced with eviction for non-payment with more time to access Rental Assistance and other services that will help them stay in their homes. A compromise between tenant advocates and landlords, the package lengthens the eviction timeline to 10 days and includes a right of redemption.
● Provides critical support for homeless youth: Youth homelessness is the number one predictor of adult homelessness. This invests $25 million in critical support to some of Oregon’s most vulnerable youth and families, connecting them with rental assistance, shelter facilities, outreach, culturally-specific services, mental health or substance abuse services, other transitional options, and more.
● Makes building affordable housing production our #1 priority: Building the housing we need, where it is needed at a price people can afford will be our top priority. The Oregon Housing Needs Analysis will help cities focus their housing production priorities and then the state will work in partnership to help make sure local partners use the most effective strategies and tools available to them to boost production of safe, accessible, and affordable housing for all Oregonians.
● Ramps up the production of affordable modular housing made right here in Oregon: This invests $20 million in the production of affordable modular homes using Oregon mass timber and other conventional materials to support our state’s homegrown industries and create good paying family wage jobs.
● Creates innovative financing models to build housing for middle-income families: The Revolving Loan Fund ($3 million) supports local governments and developers in building affordable housing for middle-income and working families, like teachers, construction and health care workers, and other family wage jobs.
● Improves on-site workforce housing for farmworkers: Responding to the needs of Oregon’s agricultural producers, the package provides grants ($5 million) for farmers to improve the health and safety conditions of existing on-site housing for farmworkers.
“This is our chance to think differently about how we get housing on the ground. By producing more modular housing, we can make sure working families have affordable places to live,” Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Southern Jackson County) said.
“Tenant advocates have made themselves clear: emergency and long term solutions are needed, including the necessary eviction protections in this package that will help families stay housed and communities stay together,” Rep. Andrea Valderrama (D-Outer East Portland said. “These resources will most importantly keep families together, especially Black and Brown families that currently have to uproot their lives and leave their communities over and over just to stay in Oregon.”
“By providing resources, including wraparound services, to homeless youth, we can dramatically reduce the risk that youth become homeless adults,” Rep. Lisa Reynolds (D-Washington County) said. “Without intervention, two-thirds of homeless youth go on to experience homelessness as adults. This is the right thing to do and the fiscally responsible thing to do.”
House Bill 5019 passed 49-10 and House Bill 2001 passed 50-9. Both now move to the Senate for consideration.
Full Package Review
- Affordable Housing
Recent estimates show Oregon is more than 140,000 housing units short of what is needed. This shortage is driving up housing costs, pricing families out of their homes, and exacerbating the homelessness crisis.
The Affordable Housing and Emergency Homeless Response Package helps us meet the Governor’s goal of building 36,000 affordable housing units annually by speeding up production, breaking through barriers, financing the development of affordable homes using Oregon materials, and creating jobs right here in Oregon.
The Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response package responds by:
Making building affordable housing Oregon’s #1 priority. (HB 2001)
Building the housing we need, where it is needed at a price people can afford will be our top priority. The Oregon Housing Needs Analysis will help cities focus their housing production priorities and then the state will work in partnership to help make sure local partners use the most effective strategies and tools available to them to boost production of safe, accessible, and affordable housing for all Oregonians. The state will support local governments through a foundational framework to:
● Create and implement housing production strategies;
● Streamline urbanization processes; and
● Clarify responsibilities for metro areas across the state.
Because each jurisdiction has a unique set of needs, each local government will create their own Housing Production Strategy with the support of the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to increase affordable housing production. If production goals aren’t met, DLCD will have increased tools to keep local governments accountable.
- Ramping up the production of affordable modular housing made in Oregon. (HB 2001)
The package invests $20 million in the production of affordable modular homes using Oregon mass timber and other conventional materials to support Oregon’s homegrown industries and create good paying family wage jobs. Because modular housing is built in factories, facilities can avoid barriers typically found in traditional construction, allowing the state to dramatically increase housing supply and have consistent production in key areas, including rural regions. Off-site construction can help reduce construction time by 20-30% and help reduce total development costs by 5-20%.
Facilities receiving state investments will be required to prioritize state or local need for housing following a wildfire or other disaster to ensure the state has an immediate and steady supply of temporary or permanent units to house survivors and rebuild communities.
Creating innovative finance models to build housing for middle-income families. (HB 2001)
The Revolving Loan Fund ($3 million) supports local governments and developers in building affordable housing for working families, like teachers, construction and health care workers, and workers in other family wage jobs.
The loan fund will help with predevelopment costs to empower developers to get projects started and improve the timelines between projects by providing resources like permitting, System Development Charges (SDC), and other related costs up front.
Improving on-site workforce housing for farmworkers. (HB 2001)
Responding to the needs of Oregon’s agricultural producers, the package provides $5 million in grants for farmers to improve the health and safety conditions of existing on-site housing for farmworkers. To qualify, housing must be registered as a farm worker camp with the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). Housing must be for agricultural workers, including workers who are retired or disabled, and their immediate families. The housing also must be in compliance with Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (Oregon OSHA) and DCBS guidelines.
Homelessness Emergency Response
Every county in the state is grappling with a rise in homelessness due to out-of-control housing costs, lack of housing, and limited shelter options. The Governor took bold and urgent action when she took office, declaring a Homelessness State of Emergency to respond to this crisis. The legislature is matching her urgency and bringing the perspective of the people the Legislature represents to the solution.
The Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response Package responds by:
Funding the Governor’s Homelessness State of Emergency. (HB 5019)
The package fully funds the Governor’s requested amount ($130 million) for her emergency declaration. These investments allow the executive branch to work closely with local governments and service providers to get Oregonians into housing or shelter, connect them to critical support services, and quickly put people on the path out of homelessness.
Investing in rural and coastal Oregon. (HB 5019)
The homelessness crisis is impacting every corner of the state. Through a $27 million investment, the package funds the Rural Oregon Continuum of Care, also known as the “Balance of State,” ensuring the state’s response to homelessness reaches 26 rural counties.
Preventing evictions that can lead to homelessness. (HB 2001)
Being evicted can have devastating effects, driving families and youth into a cycle of homelessness. This package provides renters faced with eviction for non-payment with more time to access Rental Assistance and other services that will help them stay in their homes. A compromise between tenant advocates and landlords, the package lengthens the eviction notice timeline from 72 hours to 10 days and includes a right of redemption.
Providing critical support for homeless youth. (HB 2001 and HB 5019)
Youth homelessness is the number one predictor of adult homelessness. The package invests $25 million in critical support for Oregon’s most vulnerable youth and families, connecting them with rental assistance, shelter facilities, outreach, culturally-specific services, mental health or substance abuse services, other transitional options, and more.
Continuing the successful work of previous sessions, this funds the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to provide wrap-around support services for homeless youth and families through emergency rental assistance and the expansion of the Host Homes program.
The state’s current programs are making a difference, with Oregon having the nation's second-largest decrease in youth homelessness between 2020 and 2021 according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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