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Reflections on the 2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 legislative session ended amid a media whirlwind. Like so many advocates, we were thrilled when a quorum returned to the capitol on June 29-30 to wrap up critical business.

 

The list of affordable housing wins and ground-breaking legislation passed this session is wonderfully long. Here are a few highlights:

  • SB 608 – Renters’ Protections
  • HB 2001 – The Speaker’s bill promoting “Missing Middle” development
  • HB 5005 – $150 million allocation for LIFT
  • HB 2164 – Includes EITC increase and renewal, plus important Oregon IDA program tax credit formula adjustment

 

All of us at Habitat for Humanity of Oregon tremendously appreciated the outstanding affiliate turnout for our Cost of Home kickoff event on the Capitol steps. Special thanks to North Willamette Habitat and Habitat of the Mid-Willamette Valley for helping with the event logistics. You literally made this event possible. The Cost of Home kickoff event is one of many instances where affiliate leaders stepped up to directly support our most-aggressive legislative agenda to date. Once again, thank you to so many of you who joined us for Habitat at the Capitol, who contacted your legislators with specific requests to support bills and who helped to garner unprecedented earned media.

 

The 2019 legislative session is also the first time Habitat for Humanity of Oregon contracted with a lobby team. Elise and Peter Brown of ebi Public Affairs ensured that we had daily representation at the Capitol. We have truly appreciated their joyful, professional and tireless support.

 

As well as immediate legislative victories, our cumulative efforts this session have strengthened Habitat for Humanity’s relationships with both legislative leaders and other affordable housing advocates. Thank you! It is an honor to serve in the capitol as a face of Habitat for Humanity’s wonderful work across the state.

 

2019 Legislative Priorities

  • Renters’ Protections (SB 608): Passed.
  • Addressing the Missing Middle (HB 2001): Passed.
  • Receivership Technical Fix (HB 2285): Passed.
  • New LIFT Allocation (HB 5005): $150 million allocation for LIFT. This amount is up from $80 million last biennium.
  • Increase the EITC (Now HB 2164): 1% increase to Oregon’s EITC — from 8% to 9% of the federal credit for all eligible households, with an extra boost to 12% for households with children under age 3.
  • Increase Oregon IDA (Now HB 2164): Tax credit formula adjustment will help to keep the program viable in the context of newly passed federal corporate tax laws. This program is fully funded through 2020 and advocates anticipate returning during the short session to renew and increase the tax credit.
  • Healthy Homes (HB 2802): This bill was not passed or funded.
  • Oregon MID Reform: This bill was not passed. The MID coalition’s lead agency, Oregon Center for Public Policy, recently received an advocacy grant from Meyer Memorial Trust that will help to fund polling on this key initiative.

2019 Legislative Priorities

 

Habitat at the Capitol photo gallery »

 

1. New LIFT Allocation (HB 5005): In today’s (June 25) Joint Ways and Means Committee, the group approved a new $150 million allocation for LIFT. This amount is up from $80 million last biennium. HB 5005 will soon go for a House vote. Final passage is dependent upon a Senate quorum.

2. Increase the EITC (Now HB 2164): HB 2164 includes renewal of Oregon’s EITC and a 1% increase. This represents an increase from 8% to 9% of the federal credit for all eligible households, with an extra boost to 12% for households with children under age 3. HB 2164 was approved on the House floor by a wide margin and now awaits a Senate vote.

 

3. Increase Oregon IDA (Now HB 2164): The most recent version of HB 2164, the Tax Expenditures package passed by the House, includes an important tax credit formula adjustment that will help to keep the program viable in the context of newly passed federal corporate tax laws. This program is fully funded through 2020 and advocates anticipate returning during the short session to renew and increase the tax credit.

 

4. Healthy Homes (HB 2802): This bill has not advanced and will not receive funding this session. Our Healthy Homes coalition with Community Action Agencies has attracted broader interest and is working to identify future legislative champions.

 

5. Oregon MID Reform: This bill will not move in 2019. The MID coalition’s lead agency, Oregon Center for Public Policy, recently received an advocacy grant from Meyer Memorial Trust that will help to fund polling on this key initiative.

 

6. Addressing the Missing Middle (HB 2001): This bill passed the House now awaits a Senate vote, pending quorum.

 

7. Renters’ Protections (SB 608): Passed.

 

8. Receivership Technical Fix (HB 2285): Passed.

Affordable Housing Land Acquisition Revolving Loan Program (LAP) Announcement

Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced that the new Land Acquisition Program (LAP) is anticipated to open and begin accepting loan applications on Nov. 19. See below for the full announcement from OHCS.

 

Funds are expected to go extremely quickly and will be time stamped with proposed tie breaker guidelines that include parameters like having a Board-approved diversity, equity and inclusion plan and demonstrated community needs.

 

Initial funding for this program is $2.5 million with a 40% soft set-aside for homeownership. For the initial offering of this program, only organizations seeking to acquire property in areas that meet the “Rural” definition established for LIFT are eligible.

 

To apply, there is a $500 application fee and initial fee of 1% of the total loan. No payments will be due on the loan until homes are built and sold within the 8-year timeframe. At that point, the balance of the loan is due with 1% simple interest. Additional costs to participate include providing an appraisal by an approved provider (due at time of application) and title insurance.

 

From OHCS:

We are excited to announce that the new Land Acquisition Program (LAP) is anticipated to open and begin accepting loan applications on Nov. 19, 2018. LAP is a first come, first served program based upon date received. Applications will be reviewed for program required standards. Multiple applications received on the same day and resulting in fund oversubscription will be evaluated based upon selection criteria.

LAP was established by 2017 HB 2912 and provides loans for the purchase of land to be used for the development of affordable rental or homeownership housing. The loan can remain outstanding for up to eight years and is repayable at the time of construction financing. The initial resources will target land purchase for affordable housing development in rural areas of the state.

For additional information regarding LAP and application requirements, please visit the LAP webpage. For purposes of program requirements for entering into a purchase and sale agreement, applicants may use the date of this notice as the initial program announcement.

Any program or application questions can be directed to Joanne.Sheehy@oregon.gov.

Vote YES for Affordable Housing

At Habitat for Humanity of Oregon, we believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live. Today, our neighbors and friends can work full-time, earn an average wage, and still not afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in most communities across Oregon. We know we can help more Oregonians have a safe and stable place to call home.

 

This November, Oregon voters will be asked to approve Measure 102, a statewide constitutional amendment to help local communities build affordable housing.

 

The amendment would lift the current ban on the ability of local governments to work with nonprofits and local businesses to build affordable housing with bonds. This small change means local housing bond dollars can go farther, helping communities address the need for homes that people can afford. Habitat for Humanity is among a growing coalition of organizations, businesses, elected officials and community members who are taking a stand to support affordable housing.

 

The Oregon Legislature voted almost unanimously to refer this constitutional amendment to voters. The amendment is a sensible, bipartisan solution to help local communities create more affordable housing for families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities throughout Oregon.

 

Join us in supporting #HomesWeNeed by voting YES on Measure 102 on Nov. 6.

 

Link: Yes for Affordable Housing

Housing Stability Council approves $1.82 million in LIFT for Homeownership applications for Habitat projects

On Friday, Sept. 7, the Housing Stability Council approved Oregon Housing and Community Services staff’s recommendation to fully fund all five Habitat for Humanity applications for LIFT for Homeownership. Benton Habitat for Humanity, Newberg Habitat for Humanity, Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity, Sisters Habitat for Humanity and Tillamook County Habitat for Humanity will leverage this investment to help build 28 new homes.

 

The five affiliates were approved alongside four additional organizations (Kor Community Land Trust, NeighborWorks Umpqua, Proud Ground and Willamette Neighborhood Housing & NEDCO) that will build a total of 84 homes across the state.

 

The Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Housing Program’s objective is to build new affordable housing for low income households, especially families. In 2015, the Oregon Legislature committed $40 million of general obligation Article XI-Q bonds to fund the LIFT program. Using this new funding source will allow Oregon Housing and Community Services and its partners to add to the supply of affordable housing, in particular, for historically underserved communities. In 2017, the Oregon Legislature committed $80 million of general obligation Article XI-Q bonds to fund the LIFT program in 2018 and 2019.

 

The primary goals of the LIFT program are: 1. Create a large number of new affordable housing units to serve low income Oregonian families. 2. Serve historically underserved communities, including rural communities and communities of color.

 

To learn more about the program, click here to see the framework.

 

The next opportunity apply for LIFT for Homeownership will be in November of 2018. Please contact Grant & Loan Manager Andrew Cook today if you are interested in submitting an application. OHCS will have $10.42 million available for LIFT for Homeownership, with $6.11 million for closing the minority homeownership gap and $4.31 million for rural applications.