2023 legislative priorities

February 27, 2023

In Oregon, 1 in 6 households spends more than half of their income on housing. The demand for affordable, safe and healthy homes far exceeds the available supply, causing too many of our friends and neighbors to face extremely difficult choices between housing and other basic needs, like food, healthcare and childcare. The underproduction of housing and the shortage of entry-level homes are driving up unaffordability and impeding efforts to close racial, ethnic and generational gaps in homeownership.

As the legislative session continues, the Habitat network urges strong support for policies and systems that help sustain access to critical matched savings programs, expand new home production and broaden access to affordable housing:

House Bill 2001 — Bipartisan and landmark Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Prevention package

  • This package passed the Legislature and was signed into law on March 29

Senate Bill 5511 — Gov. Kotek’s proposed budget for Oregon Housing and Community Services

  • Informational Meeting held March 30

Senate Bill 936 — Incentivizes homeownership development and supports innovative models for increasing homeownership rates for communities of color in Oregon

  • Public Hearing held on March 13

House Bill 3488-1 — Contains a mix of critical funding, including targeted investments for programs that help address racial disparities in homeownership

  • Next step: Referred to Ways and Means

Senate Bill 702 — Requires training on fair housing and implicit bias for home appraisers. This is a great step in the right direction for promoting equity in the home sale process

  • Passed both Chambers; awaits the Governor’s signature

Senate Bill 847 — Related to housing siting

  • Next step: Referred to Ways and Means

Senate Bill 976 — Mortgage interest deduction reform

  • Next step: Work session in Senate Finance and Revenue

Additional legislative paths TBA that stem from JARDHO’s final recommendations:

  • HB 3492 — Special purpose credit program for ITIN borrowers. Next step: Referred to Ways and Means

Celebrating our day in Salem

We want to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone who joined us for Habitat at the Capitol or helped amplify our message. Forty-four advocates from 14 affiliates met with 50 legislators to urge support for the measures listed above. The advocacy day proved especially timely and critical as housing-related legislation picked up steam in the weeks after the event. We also garnered the following coverage:

More information on the priorities we advocated for during Habitat at the Capitol:

  • $154 million in funding for Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) for Homeownership (SB 5511): The lack of homes in Oregon is driving up costs for renters and homebuyers. Oregon’s Housing Needs Analysis makes it clear: The state must invest in the production of new homes. The Habitat for Humanity network is well-positioned to build and sell more homes. We support investing in a proven program like LIFT for Homeownership, which has been highly successful in ramping up new home production for Habitat organizations across the state. The Habitat affiliates already accessing LIFT for Homeownership have tripled their production within three years. The $154 million request is part of Gov. Tina Kotek’s proposed budget for Oregon Housing and Community Services (SB 5511). SB 5511 also allocates $5 million in supplemental, general funds to ensure LIFT Homeownership can reach rural communities and build the density needed to address our supply crisis. Please note, our network believes that at least $100 million in general fund resources will be needed to ensure that the suggested LIFT for Homeownership allocation meets its intended reach.
  • Legislation that incentivizes homeownership development and supports innovative models for increasing homeownership rates for communities of color in Oregon (SB 936): This legislation derives from final recommendations from the Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership (JARDHO). SB 936 would: (A) Allocate $100 million each biennium to subsidize the development of 500 homes with a maximum subsidy of $200,000 per home; (B) Improve the existing Land Acquisition Revolving Loan Program or create a new fund of $30 million to purchase 200 parcels per biennium at zero percent interest; and (C) Allocate $20 million to OHCS to invest in community-based, innovative models for increasing homeownership rates for communities of color
  • $35 million in additional funding for Individual Development Accounts for the biennium (SB 5511): IDAs are matched savings accounts that bring state resources to support financial stability and wealth-building among Oregonians with lower incomes. In addition to matched savings, IDAs ensure an equitable and statewide impact in communities historically and systemically excluded from economic opportunities. Habitat for Humanity partners with IDA participants to save for home purchases. The IDA program is extremely popular and in high demand, yet there just isn’t enough money to reach everyone who wants to open an IDA. Habitat for Humanity supports $35 million in additional funding (an increase from the Governor’s recommendation of $7.5 million). This much-needed investment will allow the IDA Initiative to support existing demand and reduce waitlists among other critical objectives.