In communities throughout our state, skyrocketing home prices mean that qualified buyers are priced out of the opportunity to purchase their first home—adding pressure to a rental market bursting at the seams. The need to provide meaningful options to help stabilize at-risk homeowners has never been greater. At the same time much of our housing stock is deteriorating, especially in rural communities. Our communities become stronger and more vibrant as we unite to meet our neighbors’ basic needs for a stable, affordable place to call home:
- Let’s mobilize the resources needed to allow hardworking Oregonians to become first-time homeowners and purchase homes in the communities where they work.
- Let’s ensure that potential and current homeowners have access to effective counseling that maximizes their opportunities for lasting stability.
- Let’s fund critical home repairs to protect seniors and families of modest means from displacement.
Affordable homeownership helps build Oregon communities we are proud to call home. Maintaining and repairing homes improves the vibrancy of entire neighborhoods and preserves our housing stock for generations to come. Investments in preserving existing homes and building new ones provide local, living wage jobs. Oregon counties realize further dividends through property taxes that support our local schools and infrastructure. And families are stronger and healthier when they have a stable, safe place to call home.
2017 legislative session wrap-up – big wins for affordable homeownership!
The 2017 legislative session is winding down. We have directly supported several big wins for affordable homeownership:
- For LIFT, legislators have approved $80 million dollars in General Obligation bonds! $40 million of this will be spent in the first year of the biennium and $40 million will be spent the second year of the biennium. Homeownership is called out as a use of these bonds in the budget note, but there is not a defined amount:It is assumed that this investment will result in an additional 1,200 - 1,500 units of new housing, depending on economic factors and the extent to which the program is modified (specifically, to include single family home ownership). As a reminder, our LIFT for Homeownership technical fix bill, HB 3175, unanimously passed the House and Senate. As a requirement of the funding source, all homes built and sold using LIFT funds will need to be land trust homes. We will need to competitively apply for this funding source.
- Land Acquisition Program: Based on a successful model in Washington, this new program (HB 2912A) includes a 40% set-aside for homeownership developers like Habitat. Payments on the land become due after the homes are built.
- Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance program: $1.3 million for the Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance program was included in the end-of-session budget rebalance bill (HB 5006). Housing Centers will likely approach the legislature in the short session for additional funding, as they expect to use this amount before the biennium ends.
New Meyer Memorial Trust Affordable Housing Advocacy Grant
We are excited to share that Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded the full $40,000 requested to support local advocacy research, resources and training for Oregon Habitat for Humanity affiliates over the next 18 months. This fall, HFHO will work with a consultant to create a local advocacy best-practices toolkit based on research conducted with Habitat affiliates in Oregon and Washington. We’ll secure a software license and work directly with you to document the local financial impact of your affiliate—from property taxes paid by homeowners, to home building and repair activities, and cumulative ReStore impacts. In April of 2018, HFHO will coordinate a statewide awareness raising and advocacy campaign, celebrating the findings of these financial impact studies. In October of 2018, we’ll host a training event on local advocacy best practices and coalition building strategies. We are tremendously grateful for Meyer Memorial Trust’s support and eager to support local advocacy efforts.
We are seeking legislative support for cost-effective strategies to help increase opportunities for Oregonians to realize the lasting benefits of homeownership they can afford. Click on the bill number to be taken to the Oregon Legislature Information System (OLIS) for status updates:
HB 3175 - Passed through the House of Representatives. First reading of the bill in the Senate 4/11/17
- An investment of $20 million in LIFT 2.0 bonds will provide new, permanently affordable homeownership options throughout the state. We are seeking to increase the income cap served through homeownership from 60% to 80% of the area median income.
HB 2570 - Moved from House Committee on Human Services and Housing to Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
- The creation of a new revolving loan fund will increase the production of homes affordable for first-time buyers who have already completed homebuyer education and demonstrated their ability to repay a mortgage. We request a $25 million investment to seed this fund.
HB 2961 - Moved from House Committee on Human Services and Housing to Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
- An investment of $10 million will accomplish at least 400 critical home repairs to help homeowners of modest means to live in their homes in health and safety. This initiative will target rural communities at risk of losing much-needed housing stock.
HB 3192 - Moved from House Committee on Human Services and Housing referred to the House Committee on Revenue
- A new, flexible source of down payment assistance will help first-time homebuyers to enter the market and effectively compete with out-of-state cash offers. A $5 million investment will provide a hand-up for 300 first-time homebuyer families with low and moderate incomes.
HB 2006 - Currently in the House Committee on Human Services and Housing
- Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) Reform - Proposes common sense reforms of the MID by redirecting excessive housing subsidies to better meet the needs of Oregonians.
Follow the progress of each bill on Oregon Legislature Information System (OLIS) by signing up to receive email updates. We invite you to support this multifaceted approach that enables hardworking Oregon residents to turn their aspirations of homeownership into real opportunities for lasting stability. Providing Oregonians with the strength and independence they need to create a better life for themselves and their families is a key part of the solution for addressing Oregon’s affordable housing crisis.
We are grateful to everyone who met with legislators and advocated on our behalf. Thank you for your support throughout this legislative session. On Tuesday July 28th, 2015, Gov Kate Brown ceremoniously signed HB 2690. This provides a property tax exemption for proven nonprofit housing developers that acquire land for the purpose of building low-income housing. Click here to read the joint press release from Rep. Gomberg and Rep. Whisnant