1. New LIFT Allocation (HB 5005): Secure an additional $200 million in article XI-Q general obligation bonds for LIFT (Low Income Fast-Track housing), including a 20% soft set-aside for homeownership. This investment will stimulate the development of an additional 4,000 affordable homes over a two-year period. UPDATE: Special thanks to Karen Rockwell of Benton County HFH and Erika Kennel of HFH Portland/Metro East who provided LIFT for Homeownership support testimony on March 25 during the Oregon Housing and Community Services budget hearing, before the Join Ways & Means committee.
2. Increase Oregon IDA (SB 790/HB 3133): Double the tax credit supporting the Oregon IDA Initiative from $7.5 million to $15 million annually. Currently, 34% of this 3:1 match program for low-income savers goes toward first-time home purchases, with 4% used for affordable home repairs. Income earners up to 80% AMI can save up to $3,000 over three years, for a total $12,000 investment. Some Habitat homeowners have accessed this program first for a home down payment and later for college tuition. Each IDA saver also participates in financial management education. Successful advocacy will result in doubling program participation. UPDATE: Special thanks to HFH Mid-Willamette Valley Homeowner John Goetz who testified in support of the IDA increase on March 14 before the Senate Housing committee. SB 790 passed unanimously with a Do Pass recommendation to the Tax Expenditures committee, by prior referral.
3. Healthy Homes (HB 2802): Launch a new three-part Healthy Homes initiative. Seek an initial investment of at least $15 million for three programs: (1) Supplemental funding by formula to community action agencies to for repairs not covered by Federal weatherization dollars; (2) “Healthy Homes” revolving fund receiving continual reinvestment by health care providers; (3) Affordable home repair funding offered through competitive application by Oregon Housing and Community Services. UPDATE: Special thanks to Board Member and past Mayor Bob Andrews from Newberg Area HFH for testifying in support of HB 2802 on March 11. On 3/25 this bill moved unanimously to Joint Ways & Means with a Do Pass recommendation.
4. Oregon MID Reform (HB 3349): Pave the Way for Successful MID (Mortgage Interest Deduction) Reform in 2019 or 2020. This ambitious initiative has the potential to generate $150 million for affordable housing per biennium in perpetuity through modest changes affecting less than 5% of Oregonians. UPDATE: On 3/25 the House Human Services and Housing Committee voted 5-3 to send this bill to House Revenue with a Do Pass recommendation. We learned today that HB 3349 will have a hearing in House Revenue. HUGE thanks to Rep. Keny-Guyer who has worked tirelessly to bring MID reform to this point.
5. Receivership Technical Fix (HB 2285): Provide a technical fix for Oregon’s Receivership Program: Enable cities to foreclose on vacant “zombie homes” contributing to neighborhood blight, and improve the state statute so that cities can assign clear title to nonprofit affordable housing developers. We estimate 300 such homes are currently sitting vacant and in disrepair statewide. UPDATE: Special thanks to Advocacy Chair Randy Franke for testifying in support of this bill on 2/26. The House Judiciary committee has a backlog of work. This bill has possible work session scheduled for both 4/1 and 4/8. Dash -2 amendments have been adopted that clarify that probate proceedings take precedence. We anticipate that this bill will soon move to the floor for a House vote.
6. Renters’ Protections (SB 608): Institute statewide maximum rent increase cap and end no-cause evictions. Signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday, Feb. 28. Thanks to everyone who supported this bill!
7. Addressing the Missing Middle (HB 2001): Promote zoning changes needed to increase “missing middle” housing development. Every Oregon municipality, from the smallest town to Portland, has an urban growth boundary, placing artificial pressure on residential land prices. For this reason, “middle density” development is critical to maximizing affordable housing opportunities. At present, each municipality has its own set of residential standards, most of which do not promote even duplex development. This legislative concept stipulates that Oregon municipalities of a certain population size must adopt favorable zoning requirements for duplexes, triplexes and quads or default to model code within 18 months of passage. UPDATE: A possible work session is scheduled for 4/8. Special thanks to Steve Messinetti for co-authoring with me an editorial in support of HB 2001 that HFH Portland/Metro East submitted to the Portland Tribune.
8. Increase the EITC (HB 2139-1/HB 3028): The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps working people with low incomes meet their basic needs and keep working, which benefits their families, their communities, and local economies. Families often use the credit to invest in the future by saving for a home, purchasing or repairing a car, or going back to school. Oregon’s EITC is up for sunset and review in 2019. This means we have the opportunity to increase the EITC. UPDATE: On 4/1 HB 3028 unanimously passed out of House Human Services & Housing with a Do Pass recommendation to Revenue by prior referral.