“There were several hundred housing advocates gathered in Salem to learn about key legislative measures, how to talk with representatives and visit the representatives and ask for their ‘yea’ votes on these measures. Each attendee was matched with appointments to visit both their representative and senator.We were asked to stress one bill during our visits. HB 4007, Document Recording Fee: What the Oregon Housing Alliance has to say about this bill:

“Preventing and ending homelessness, building and preserving affordable housing, and expanding access to affordable homeownership are all key purposes of the document recording fee. The document recording fee is stable, ongoing revenue that provides critical and flexible funds to housing opportunity. Ten percent is directed to preventing homelessness, 14% to promote homeownership, and 76% to multifamily affordable housing development. Within each of these priorities, one out of every four dollars serves veterans experiencing housing instability. HB 4007 increases the fee to $75, raising an additional $82 million per biennium. HB 4007 includes a proposed First Time Home Buyer Savings Account, providing a small tax incentive for people with moderate incomes to save for the purchase of a first home.”

Another piece of legislation is also important this session:HJR 201 Constitutional Amendment for Affordable Housing, From the Oregon Housing Alliance:

‘Bonds are an incredibly powerful tool to help meet affordable housing needs. The Oregon State Constitution limits the ability of municipal governments to use bonds to build needed affordable housing. The constitution prohibits lending of credit by local jurisdictions which means that bonds issued by local jurisdiction for affordable housing cannot be used with other funding and the housing much be owned and controlled by the local government entity. HJR 201 asks the Legislature to refer to voters a constitutional amendment that would create an exemption for affordable housing. Additional flexibility will ensure more effective use of bonds to address local housing needs’.

“Readers of this report: Please call your representative/senator (use this link to find them www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html) and ask them to vote ‘yea’ on these two measures. 4007 needs to pass with a 3/5 majority so we need ‘all hands on deck’ to support these measures.”    John Elizalde