As state lawmakers convene in Salem, Habitat for Humanity of Oregon has announced its top priorities for the 2024 short session. During Habitat at the Capitol on Feb. 13 and throughout the 35-day session, we will raise our voices for affordable homeownership and housing resiliency. We urge support for policies that expand new home production and sustain access to critical matched-savings programs that help create pathways toward homeownership:
1) Individual Development Accounts (IDAs): $10 million
Funding for the IDA Initiative is advancing and continues to receive strong, bipartisan support from Oregon legislators in both chambers. House Bill 4131 ($10M for IDAs) and Senate Bill 1530 ($5 million) passed their first committees and have been referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.
Act now: Help us ensure that $10 million in funding passes by using this simple template to email the Ways and Means co-chairs
- Individual Development Accounts are a resource for qualifying Oregonians to leverage the power of their savings to support self-determined financial goals — including homeownership, education, small businesses, vehicles and emergency savings. IDAs are administered by a network of more than 70 community-based organizations in all parts of the state, including Habitat for Humanity of Oregon. Since 1999, more than 17,000 Oregonians, in 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties, have completed the program and received matched funding. More than 2,600 people are currently enrolled.
- A $10 million general fund investment will keep the program’s service level consistent with recent years — empowering a total of 2,200 families across the state to invest in their futures by enrolling in an IDA. Without legislative action in 2024, the IDA initiative will enroll only 1,600 families in this biennium — fewer than at any point in the past 12 years.
- While more than 20% of participants explicitly save for first-time homeownership, all IDA savings create housing stability and resiliency for families and individuals with limited incomes.
2) Build new, affordable homes for first-time buyers: $15 million
SB 1530 passed the Senate Housing Committee without this $15 million investment; we are urging legislative leaders to allocate this funding so that shovel-ready housing construction projects can continue.
- These general fund resources will re-capitalize the Homeownership Development Incubator Program (HDIP). Oregon Housing and Community Services launched HDIP in spring of 2023, enabling Oregon homeownership developers (nonprofit and for-profit) to secure key resources to pair with LIFT Homeownership or as a stand-alone investment.
- HDIP serves as a catalyst for expanding our state’s pipeline of affordable homeownership developments in three key ways: (1) Ensuring that LIFT Homeownership developments pencil in rural communities; (2) investing in restorative justice homeownership opportunities; (3) and providing critical pre-development resources needed to stimulate new homeownership developments across the state.
3) Economic Equity Investment Program (EEIP): $30 million
HB 4041 received a public hearing in the House Committee on Economic Development and Small Business on Feb. 8. Update as of Feb. 19: Unfortunately, this bill will not proceed.
- The Economic Equity Investment Program, created in 2022, directed Business Oregon to provide one-time grants to culturally responsive, community-based organizations with programs that build generational wealth for people experiencing multiple economic risk factors. The $30 million investment will fund programs providing homeownership assistance, small business support and workforce development.
- EEIP funds the “Rural Ready” program Habitat for Humanity of Oregon is currently administering. Together, our Habitat for Humanity network will leverage the $850,000 EEIP grant to stimulate the construction of 87 homes based in 12 rural communities across the state — from Lincoln City to La Grande.
- The BIPOC Caucus has listed EEIP as its top priority for 2024.
Legislative leaders: Short session will focus on housing
Housing will have a bipartisan spotlight once again this session—with leaders from both chambers and the executive branch pledging to prioritize the topic. Gov. Tina Kotek told KGW that “her number one focus will be on spurring housing production across the state, which she said is the ultimate solution to homelessness issues.” Read more about the governor’s plans to boost housing production »
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.
About Habitat for Humanity of Oregon
Habitat for Humanity of Oregon works in partnership with the 24 local Habitat offices of dedicated staff and volunteers building and repairing homes across our state. We provide them with operational support, sustainable financial resources, and public policy and advocacy work allowing them to better serve their communities. Our work is undergirded by a commitment to advancing racial equity and housing justice.
[Photo] During Habitat at the Capitol on Feb. 13, 39 advocates from 13 affiliates joined us in Salem and met with 40 Oregon legislators.