2022 legislative priorities

February 9, 2022

As we continue to face challenges brought on and deepened by the pandemic, it’s critical that Habitat for Humanity advocates come together to make our voices heard for housing resiliency and home affordability in 2022. More than 30 staff and board members, volunteers and homeowners are meeting with Oregon legislators during Habitat at the Capitol on Feb. 15-17 to support policies that promote broader access to safe, decent and affordable homes. Here’s what we’ll be sharing:

In Oregon, 1 in 7 households spend half or more of their income on housing. Too many of our friends and neighbors are forced to make tough decisions in other aspects of their lives, including health and education. At a time when housing cost increases outpace household incomes and while our state experiences a documented shortage of affordable homes, it is more important than ever to support policies and systems that increase wealth-building and affordable homeownership opportunities.

We’re asking Oregon legislators to support the following bills and funding requests that help sustain access to critical matched savings programs, expand new home production and create pathways toward homeownership and workforce development in culturally-responsive ways.

Support Gov. Brown’s request for $35 million for Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Funding for IDAs did not pass this session

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matching savings accounts that improve the financial future of Oregonians with lower incomes. IDAs build pathways of opportunity — especially as a mechanism to economic stability and intergenerational wealth-building when IDAs are used to help participants save for a down payment.

The governor’s recommendation of $35 million is a much-needed investment in the program, which will allow the IDA Initiative to support existing demand, reduce waitlists and fully meet additional demand in all corners of Oregon.

Support Gov. Brown’s housing package — notably her request of $30 million to build more new homes for purchase

Update: See the Oregon Legislature’s $400 million housing budget

According to Oregon’s Regional Housing Needs Analysis, Oregon must build more than 140,000 affordable homes over the next 20 years to keep up with demand. As one of the state’s largest homeownership developers, we support Gov. Brown’s request of $30 million to build more new homes for purchase (as part of the $400 million housing package).

Critically, these general fund dollars are a much-needed resource to enable developers like Habitat for Humanity to leverage other investments, like local ARPA allocations, HUD funding opportunities and LIFT for homeownership to meaningfully expand our production of new, energy-efficient homes for sale.

Say YES to Senate Bill 1579: The Equity Investment Act

The Equity Investment Act passed both chambers and was signed into law by Gov. Brown

The Equity Investment Act (Senate Bill 1579) will create intergenerational wealth-building opportunities in Oregon’s historically underserved communities by growing small businesses, providing critical workforce training and increasing homeownership access for Oregonians who stand to benefit the most.

We know firsthand that homeownership is an incredible wealth-building opportunity for households of modest means. Through policies like redlining and disparate access to credit, people of color have not had fair access to homeownership opportunities in the United States. Over decades, this disparate access has resulted in a well-documented racial wealth gap.

SB 1579 creates the Equity Investment fund, which allocates $15 million to Business Oregon to provide grants to culturally-responsive, community-based organizations that support paths to homeownership, workforce development and entrepreneurship. We strongly believe this is a critical investment for diverse communities in Oregon. We urge the Oregon Legislature’s passage of SB 1579 to empower hardworking Oregonians across the state to plants roots in the local community, build wealth and strengthen the cities and towns we can all be proud to call home. Read more from KOIN »