Read what's happening in Oregon and other areas...
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Northwest Regional Administrator Donna Batch announced that Doug Carlson, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been named as Field Office Director for HUD in Oregon, effective October 31, 2016. He will be based at HUD’s offices in Portland and he succeeds Margaret Salazar who has been appointed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown to serve as director of Oregon Housing and Community Services.
“Doug is an excellent fit for this position and is highly-regarded by his colleagues at HUD and by our partners in Oregon, Idaho and across the Northwest. He has more than 30 years of experience in the field of housing and community development, including work in local government and the nonprofit sector,” said Regional Administrator Batch. “He brings particular interest and expertise in development practices and public policies designed to eradicate poverty, building community, managing growth and fostering sustainability.”
Doug joined HUD in 1990 and, in 1998, was named Director of Community Planning & Development with oversight responsibility over more than 45 grantees in Oregon and Idaho receiving funds through the Community Development Block Grant, Continuum of Care, HOME Investment Partnership, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS/HIV programs, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a host of other HUD-funded programs which generate more than $100 million annually in critical Federal housing, community & economic development assistance to scores of local governments & non-profit housing providers across the two states.
Doug was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He is a graduate of Boise State University earned a master of public administration degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and currently is a Senior Fellow Partnership for Public Service’s Excellence in Government Program.
Tina Kotek proposes controversial measures to help residents stay in homes
Important conversations about housing are taking place in Oregon: availability and affordability, housing the homeless, finding affordable places for families, allowing people to age in place, and making room for new-comers. While there is no one solution for housing issues, there is a new tool that provides useful guidance for Oregonians in a report titled, Character-compatible Space-efficient Housing Options for Single-dwelling Neighborhoods. The result of a recent partnership between the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), the Department of Transportation (ODOT), and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the report responds to housing trends and best practices identified around the state. The project was spearheaded by DEQ, with assistance from the Transportation Growth Management Program, a cooperative effort between DLCD and ODOT that helps communities link land use and transportation planning.
Oregon Opportunity Network’s Policy Director, Ruth Adkins, who advocates for housing and community development throughout Oregon, responded to the report saying, “Our state needs a broad range of housing types, prices, and sizes in all neighborhoods. We are excited to see this report's practical, thoughtful solutions for neighborhood housing options across Oregon.”
The state agencies prepared this report because these housing options provide several community benefits. Demographers have demonstrated a need for affordable housing options that meet the needs of smaller households; however, many zoning codes in Oregon instead encourage the development of large, detached homes. All of the smaller housing types outlined in this report can add to the diversity and affordability of homes in traditional single-dwelling neighborhoods. Also, research by DEQ has found that building smaller homes is among the best practices to reduce the lifetime carbon and energy impacts of single-dwelling housing. Finally, the increased density realized by allowing these smaller housing DLCD types can help make transit service more feasible, and, where neighborhoods contain an appropriate mix of uses, can better support walking and biking as travel options.
The complete report is available online: http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/TGM/Pages/SpaceEfficientHousing.aspx
Salem, Ore.- The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in partnership with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA), has launched the Veterans Rental Assistance Program, designed to provide transitional housing for military veterans who have serious mental illness and are homeless or at risk for homelessness.
The new program will provide funding for transitional housing to accommodate up to 147 veterans who do not have permanent homes in Clackamas, Marion, Columbia, Yamhill and Jackson counties. Transitional housing is a stable, but temporary, arrangement meant to help bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing.
“OHA is pleased to partner with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ affairs on this innovative and critical program,” said Karen Wheeler, integrated health programs director for OHA’s Health Systems Division.
OHA started the Rental Assistance Program in 2013 for individuals with serious mental illness, but this is the first time it has specifically targeted veterans. This year, OHA made $2.5 million available for veterans’ rental assistance and a similar program, which serves young adults who meet the eligibility criteria for serious mental illness and homelessness.
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Senate Finance Committee member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. The bill would expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by 50 percent in order to create or preserve an additional 400,000 affordable homes over the next ten years. The bill is co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).
The Out of Reach Study, released on May 25th, and published annually by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, calculates a so-called "housing wage", the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on rent and utilities. Oregon's housing wage was the 18th highest in the nation.
The amount of money a renter would have to make to afford a two bedroom apartment in Oregon rose by nearly $3 an hour in a single year. The Portland Metro area requires a higher housing wage than the national average - residents in the region need to make $19.63 an hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment and $23.23 an hour for a two-bedroom, according to the study.
Alison McIntosh, deputy director for policy and communications at Neighborhood Partnerships, and an affiliate member of Oregon ON, said this in reaction to the study: "Housing costs are continuing to rise relative to wages, combined with a huge number of no cause evictions, rapidly increasing rents, and very low vacancy rates. The Legislature can do more to invest in affordable housing and protect tenants, and we'll be advocating for the 2017 Legislature to do more for Oregonians who are affected by the housing crisis."
The full study, with an interactive map, can be found by clicking here.
When Meyer’s current five-year Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) launched in 2014, it felt audacious. We worked with the field to craft a refreshed framework of strategies, aimed towards innovation, systems change and the leveraging of resources. With two dedicated and experienced program officers leading the initiative, we set out to change how Meyer advanced its affordable housing work. And the equity focus that is now central to Meyer’s work was, in several key ways, first tested through AHI’s work over the last two years.
Now it’s time to take stock of our progress to date. Kristina Smock Consulting recently completed an assessment of the first full year of AHI’s refreshed grantmaking.
Read the evaluation highlights and full report here.
One of the bills signed by Governor Brown prohibits landlords from raising rent for the first year of a month-to-month lease. A second bill requires landlords to give renters 90 days notice before raising rent for tenants who have lived in a home more than a year. The bills also include a stipulation that cities and counties make developers include low income housing in rental and home sale projects.
Brown says the bills are a start but more needs to be done to address affordable housing in Oregon.
“We need to build more affordable housing,” Brown told KOIN 6 News. “Partnership, collaboration, we have more federal money coming in, we need to partner with private sector and partner with our local folks at the county and city level.”
Read what Oregon ON Voting Member Val Valfre of Washington County of Department of Housing Services has to say about the bill.
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