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Sen. Kayse Jama (D - Portland), chair of the Senate Housing and Development Committee.
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 01 March 2024

Yesterday, the Oregon Senate passed with bipartisan support Senate Bill 1537 and Senate Bill 1530, two major components of the Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package. The goal of the package is to stabilize and house Oregonians living on the streets and put affordable housing within reach for everyone.

Including House Bill 4134, the Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package creates programs and commits $376 million to support renters, boost housing production and infrastructure, fund homeless shelters, and create safe, healthy homes.

"This package is an incredible, bipartisan accomplishment that will make real progress on one of the toughest challenges facing our state. I’m really proud of the work we did to put forward smart solutions that will deliver urgent relief to Oregonians who need it,” said Sen. Kayse Jama (D - Portland), chair of the Senate Housing and Development Committee.

SB 1537 — introduced at the request of Gov. Tina Kotek — creates a new revolving loan fund to make interest-free loans to local governments to help finance production of affordable housing and moderate income housing projects. The fund is seeded with $75 million.

The bill also grants qualifying cities a one-time expansion of their urban growth boundaries. Cities under 25,000 people can expand by 50 acres, while cities over 25,000 people can expand by 100 acres. In the Metro area, the cap is 300 acres. Cities must display that they have done comprehensive planning and permitting before expansion and demonstrate need for both housing and land.

SB 1537 further establishes the housing accountability and production office to support local governments as they work to achieve their housing production goals.

SB 1530 makes significant and wide-ranging investments directed at the immediate housing needs for Oregonians, building on the resources the Legislature has committed toward housing production and support in recent legislative sessions.

"Everyone agrees that Oregon needs to build more homes quickly. These investments and programs are going to put Oregon on a path to making affordable housing more available all across the state," said Sen. Aaron Woods (D-Wilsonville), co-chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development.

Housing and Homelessness — $131 million

  • Emergency shelters, Project Turnkey sites and navigation centers ($65 million)
  • Homelessness prevention services, through Oregon Eviction Diversion and Prevention and Eviction Prevention Rapid Response Programs with 30% set aside for culturally responsive organizations ($34 million)
  • Urban League of Portland for homelessness prevention services ($7 million)
  • Maintain and expand capacity for 27 recovery housing projects ($18 million)
  • Individual development accounts for first-time homebuyers ($5 million)
  • Support for the furnishing of reused household goods to low-income residents through Community Warehouse ($1 million)
  • Education and support of tenants at risk of rent increase or possible eviction through Seeding Justice ($1 million)

Housing Infrastructure and Production — $123.55 million

  • Direct allocation to cities for 44 infrastructure projects across the state to support shovel-ready housing production ($94.3 million)
  • Land acquisitions for affordable housing ($29.25 million):
    • Purchase and redevelopment of a property on N Dixon Street in Portland for development of affordable housing to Albina Vision Trust ($25 million)
    • Unite Oregon’s purchase of a property on E Burnside Street in Portland for development of affordable housing ($3 million)
    • Center for African Immigrants and Refugees Organization’s purchase of a property on SE Stark Street for development of affordable housing ($1.25 million)

Healthy and Safe Homes  — $24.5 million

  • Healthy Homes Repair Fund to support home improvements to lower energy usage and make homes safer ($15 million)
  • Residential Heat Pump Fund in the Department of Environmental Quality ($4 million)
  • Air conditioners and air filters provided on an emergency basis to at-risk individuals ($3.5 million)
  • Support for warming or cooling emergency shelters ($2 million)

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