Habitat at the Capitol: March 9-11

February 4, 2021

In early March, housing advocates from across the state met with 33+ Oregon legislators during Habitat for Humanity of Oregon’s annual event, Habitat at the Capitol.

At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that our communities become stronger and more vibrant as we unite to meet our neighbors’ basic needs for a stable, affordable place to call home. Especially at a time when home is everything, we’re asking Oregon legislators to support policies and programs that help strengthen household resiliency and improve home affordability.

For additional information on each bill, view these priorities as a PDF here. You can also click on the bill number to track the legislation through OLIS.

Priority 1: Help stabilize Oregon households during and after COVID-19.

We’re asking Oregon legislators to act today to ensure that Oregonians of all income levels can enjoy the health and economic benefits of a secure place to call home during this critical time.

  • Foreclosure Moratorium Extension (HB 2009): This legislation extends the moratorium on all residential mortgage foreclosures through Sept. 1, 2021 and gives the Governor the ability to extend the moratorium through Dec. 31, if needed. In addition, small landlords with up to five qualifying properties would be protected. HB 2009 disallows foreclosures during the moratorium period, which will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021. Lenders must grant forbearance, and move any missed payments to the end of the loan. To qualify, homeowners will have to attest that they have lost income due to circumstances arising from the pandemic. HB 2009 passed out of the House Chamber on April 6. Senate Housing and Development has scheduled a public hearing for the bill on April 15.
  • Eviction Moratorium Extension (SB 282): After the eviction moratorium ends on June 30, 2021, SB 282 gives people more time to get back on their feet by enacting the following items: (1) Extends the repayment grace period to Feb. 28, 2022; (2) Protects tenants’ ability to rent in the future; (3) Protects the right to share resources in a crisis; and (4) Protects against landlord retaliation and manufactured for-cause notices. As nearly half a billion dollars of state and federal tenant and landlord assistance are being distributed, we must ensure that people have time to access assistance and aren’t unfairly evicted after the moratorium ends in June. SB 282 passed out of the Senate on April 14. This bill moves to House Housing.

Priority 2: Ensure broader access to safe, decent and affordable homes.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 6 Oregon households were paying half of more of their income on a place to live. It is more important than ever to increase access to affordable homes.

  • Ensuring Homeownership Opportunities in Our Communities (SB 458): Oregon communities of all sizes lack entry-level homeownership opportunities. SB 458 will increase the construction potential of middle housing units and provide more homeownership opportunities by facilitating a straightforward land division process that aligns with the “Missing Middle” housing types allowed through HB 2001 passed in 2019. SB 458A passed out of the Senate Chamber on April 15 on a 25-4 (1 excused) vote. The bill moves to House Housing.
  • Fully fund the Oregon IDA Initiative (HB 2551): IDAs are matched savings accounts that improve the financial future of Oregonians with lower incomes. In addition to matched savings, IDAs help build hope and stability by providing information about financial systems and coaching that supports savers’ unique financial goals. Critically, 34% of Oregonians with IDA savings use this program to help pay for the down payment on their first home purchase. HB 2551 reauthorizes the IDA Initiative Tax Credit for the next six years while making several smaller programmatic changes to allow IDA providers to deliver a more equitable and positive saving experience for IDA account holders. In addition to HB 2551, the IDA Initiative is requesting an appropriation of $7 million to fund the Initiative through the next biennium as more Oregonians seek to participate in this important program. HB 2551 passed out of House Human Services on April 5 and moves to House Revenue.
  • Healthy Homes Program and Repair Fund (HB 2842): This legislation will establish the Healthy Homes Program within the Oregon Health Authority to provide grants to local governments, local housing authorities, nonprofit organizations, community or federally recognized Indian tribes to assist low-income households or environmental justice communities with home repairs and retrofits. This bill also creates the Interagency Task Force on Healthy Homes to ensure better coordination between agencies doing home improvement work. This is a $20 million request in House Housing with subsequent referral to Ways & Means. HB 2842 passed out of House Housing on April 6 and moves to Ways and Means.