Midway Report: On Friday, Oregon Housing and Community Services released a report updating the state on the “substantial progress” made toward the goals of the 2019 Statewide Housing Strategy, “Breaking New Ground.”
Here is the official OHCS press release regarding the study:
Slightly more than halfway through the five-year plan, which was launched after extensive listening sessions across the state to illuminate areas of need and provide a direction-setting framework for OHCS to build support and coordinated action, the agency is now a little over halfway through the plan.
Midway Report On The Statewide Housing Plan’s Progress Is Issued
The agency has achieved significant headway on the housing front, notably in terms of expanding supply while housing instability and need are escalating, and this is detailed in the midpoint report. Director Andrea Bell emphasizes Oregonians’ common values in her letter, and she pledges a strong effort to expand access to affordable housing.
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“The various victories mentioned in this report are a monument to the strength of our collaborations pushing shared ideals to guarantee that all Oregonians have a secure, affordable place to call home,” said Andrea Bell, OHCS Executive Director. There is still a significant need for homes of all kinds, and that demand is only expected to grow. Know that OHCS will work tirelessly, with humanity as a lens, to expand access to affordable housing for all who need it.
Given the magnitude of the housing crisis, the report’s accomplishments are particularly impressive. When compared to other state agencies, OHCS is quite tiny, having fewer than 400 personnel. (The Oregon Department of Transportation, for instance, employs more than 4,700 people.)
The number and variety of the agency’s affordable housing projects across the state have grown in recent years. OHCS serves Oregonians across the entire housing spectrum by actively integrating numerous sources of funding, including state and federal monies, bonds, tax credits, and other revenue streams.
The Local Innovative Fast Track (LIFT) grants in Oregon are one example of a creative funding strategy for housing construction, as they prioritize low-income neighborhoods in rural and minority areas. Thanks to this funding strategy and the efforts of OHCS personnel and numerous partners around the state, we were able to fund 3,612 rural Oregon households at reasonable rates, exceeding our original objective.
One of the highlights of the study is that the organization was able to sponsor more than 1,200 Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is a tried-and-true method of providing shelter and assistance to those who are chronically homeless. This effort has earned the agency national recognition, which it recently received an award for.
Most significantly, we have made significant headway toward our five-year goal of providing funds for the construction or preservation of 25,000 houses. With this target, the agency will be doing three times as much as before. There are already 20,624 homes in the development queue, so the agency is on schedule to fulfill the objective.
Claire Hall, chair of the agency’s Housing Stability Council, which provides strategic direction, expressed her delight at the recent developments. This is very impressive. The financing, construction, and sale of a housing development can take a very long time.
According to the data presented here, the construction of tens of thousands of dwellings is well underway, and people will soon be able to take possession of their own homes and rest under their own roofs. At a time when Oregonians need homes at affordable costs, the tripling of the development objective for affordable housing comes not a minute too soon.
In a state like Oregon, where issues like homelessness and the cost of housing are at the forefront of people’s minds, the report’s positive findings are especially welcome. It is difficult to measure or celebrate progress on the housing front because of the consequence of decades of divestment in housing, as recently outlined in the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis.
Oregon Housing and Community Services issues ‘midway report’ on Statewide Housing Plan progress https://t.co/gftYgVsuup
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Oregonians are in dire need of expanded choices. The Agency Request Budget for 2023–2025 lays out these and other housing goals as well as plans for future expansion of this activity. The agency’s proposed funding mechanisms for these priorities are detailed in the accompanying text.
Home has been provided to tens of thousands of people and their families. Successful strategies are mapped out in this paper. After all, as Bell so eloquently put it, “we know that investing in affordable housing involves investing in family stability, children’s achievement, and the economic health of our entire state.” In other words, “no family should have to fight to obtain safe, quality, and cheap housing.”
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The OHCS website now features the midpoint report for your perusal. In addition to English, the report can be downloaded in Spanish as well. You may find the first version of the Statewide Housing Plan (SWHP) on the portal page dedicated to it. The report’s metrics are fiscal years, which will wrap up in the summer of 2024.
Input from and collaboration with the local community are highly prized by OHCS. If you’d like to keep up with this project and have input on further iterations, signing up for email updates is the best way to do so.
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