Supporting Local Communities to Plan for Their Housing Needs

Alison Macintosh & Mary Kyle McCurdy
Tue, 04/11/2017 - 11:50am

Housing Bill Moves Forward in the Legislature

Last week, on April 6, the House Human Services & Housing Committee unanimously passed out a bill,  HB 3373, to fund two joint positions at Housing and Community Services and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. This funding will support housing planning at the local and state level. The bill now goes to the Ways & Means Committee. Funding is tight this session, so nothing is guaranteed, but we hope this will pass. Below is a joint statement of support put out together by 1000 Friends of Oregon, The Housing Alliance, Oregon Home Builders Association, and League of  Oregon Cities:

Communities thrive when their residents have safe, stable homes that they can afford. Local governments throughout the state recognize the importance of an adequate supply of housing to meet the needs of their residents. These governments face significant challenges in meeting their housing needs, especially as communities grow and change and are struggling to accommodate the significant increase in Oregon’s population. Local governments are eager to address their housing needs, and need assistance in evaluating policy options and developing long term plans for housing all Oregonians. 

More and more residents are facing challenges finding homes that they can afford. Oregon needs a range of strategies at both the state and local levels to ensure every Oregonian has a safe and stable place to call home. This proposal will assist local governments by bringing together the various departments that impact housing policy to share resources and technical expertise, and focus on providing the tools necessary to plan for the future of housing in the state. 

Local governments are looking to the state for planning resources and technical expertise to help with developing long-term plans to provide needed housing for their residents. HB 3373 creates two new joint positions, one at the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), and one at Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). Both positions would focus on providing assistance and education to local governments, developers, and community members. These positions would also draft, review, update, and recommend changes to state policy, rules, technical guidebooks, and other resources relating to housing. 

By providing centralized resources and technical support, the state and local governments can more efficiently address local housing needs and help communities identify what will work for them. Communities can learn from each other’s successes and best practices, and state policy will be enriched through dedicated staffing. These positions would strengthen coordination between OHCS and DLCD, help local governments improve their housing planning and zoning, and support implementation of new legislation that involves both housing and land use. 

By providing support to local jurisdictions, they will be better able to address their immediate and long-term housing needs. These positions are an investment in the future of Oregon by enabling better and more efficient planning for housing creation at both the state and local levels. 

Read 1000 Friends' Testimony on HB 3373