Lawmakers skeptical about Bend affordable housing plan

State agency seeking $100 million to build state-owned housing, but lawmakers wonder if it’s enough.

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A state agency is seeking $100 million to build state-owned housing, but some lawmakers are wondering if it’s enough to fix the problem in Central Oregon.

The proposal from the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department calls for building 3,000-4,000 units to alleviate the region’s soaring rent and plummeting rental vacancy rate.

The Bend Bulletin reports:

“I love the idea of $100 million for affordable housing,” said Tom Kemper, executive director of Housing Works, the public housing authority in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. “I just think the strictures on the money are going to be very difficult to actually create a lot of units that are owned by the state. I just can’t see them building between 3,000-4,000 units of housing with $100 million.”

Under the proposal, the Housing and Community Services Department would work with private developers and local housing groups on projects that would build housing that focuses on need and affordability.

The state would own the properties but would not be responsible for management services.

The $100 million proposal would be comprised of $85 million in general fund bonds and $15 million from Oregon Lottery bonds.

Gov. Kate Brown, and John Kitzhaber before her, support the proposal.