Bills fund a large-scale expansion of the HCSD, as well as housing assistance programs and new rent controls.
Gov. Tina Kotek has signed nearly $3 billion of housing assistance bills into law to fight the state’s ongoing housing crisis.
HB 3395, an omnibus bill, allows affordable housing construction on lands zoned for commercial uses within urban growth boundaries, allocates $48.5 million from the general fund to reduce restrictions on housing types and calls for distributing funds to assist low-income college students and farm workers finding housing.
Kotek also gave her stamp of approval to SB 5511, which funds $2.5 billion and 441 new positions at the Housing and Community Services Department, and includes $55 million for rental assistance, $6 million for eviction prevention services and $7 million assistance with housing down payments.
SB 5511 also contains $130 million in homelessness response, including funding to maintain Project Turnkey sites, navigation centers, and the shelters being built now through the Governor’s emergency declaration on homelessness, which she declared on her first day in office.
In addition to providing funding and building out the HCSD, Kotek also signed legislation meant to protect tenants through housing protections. SB 611, which caps the amount landlords can increase rent for tenants to 7% plus inflation or 10%, whichever is lower.
HB 3042 give Oregonians in subsidized housing a three-year safe-harbor period, limiting terminations and rent increases after tenants’ housing is withdrawn from publicly supported housing.
Earlier this year, the governor signed HB 5019 and HB 2001, which provided $200 million dollars to construct affordable housing and give financial assistance to Oregonians close to losing their homes, into law.
Kotek has been a persistent advocate for the state’s role in fixing the housing shortage, and has pursued both conventional and unconventional alternatives to increase the state’s housing supply, including building mass-timber modular housing units as well as funding Project Turnkey, which helps cities purchase hotels for emergency sheltering.
“These bills are about progress toward making sure every Oregonian has a place to live, safely and securely,” Kotek said at last week’s signing ceremony. “Each tackle these issues from a different angle and complement the efforts well under way through the Emergency Homelessness Response Package that passed early in March. We have work to do. There isn’t one solution to our housing crisis, and it won’t be solved overnight. So let’s keep going.”
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