Oregon’s 2019 state legislative session wrapped up with a bang last month, with the Senate approving a flurry of bills that will impact the lives of Oregonians across the state. For those of us working to prevent homelessness and housing instability, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate!
First of all, the legislature made historic investments to end homelessness and create and maintain more affordable housing. This came in the form of $206.5 million to increase the supply of affordable housing, $70.5 million to address and prevent homelessness, $54.5 million to invest in permanent supportive housing, and over $5 million in accelerating development across Oregon. The result is over $336.5 million earmarked to prevent and end homelessness and develop and maintain affordable housing for all Oregonians. (Read the Oregon Housing and Community Service’s wrap up of all the investments here.)
Secondly, the legislature passed new policies that will impact renters and the affordable housing industry across the state.
- Senate Bill 608 provides greater protections for renters across the state. This bill limits rent increases to no more than seven percent on top of inflation for rental homes older than 15 years. It also provides greater protection against no cause evictions after the first year of occupancy.
- HB 2001 changes zoning laws to allow for denser housing options, including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes, and cottage clusters. This paves the way for more affordable housing options to come on the market rather than just single family homes.
We are so pleased with the progress that was made during the 2019 legislative session. These changes in policy and investments from the state will make a huge difference in the lives of Oregonians struggling with homelessness and housing instability, which remains a pervasive problem across the state.
We’d like to extend a big thanks to the Oregon Housing Alliance, especially Alison McIntosh, for all of your relentless hard work in advocating for a legislative agenda that is friendly to the affordable housing sector. There is a lot to be proud of, and they worked tirelessly to organize and advocate for these strong policies.