Reports + Articles


Oregon advocates celebrate $60 million for housing programs

On July 20th the National Low Income Housing Coalition recognized Oregon advocates' work in securing $60 million in new housing resources for the state - here.  The $60 million approved by the 2015 Legislature will provide new affordable housing for homeless families with $20 million dedicated toward the construction of homes for people living with mental illnesses. 

In addition to the $60 million in new funding, the Legislature also approved $9.75 million for the Emergency Housing Account (EHA) and the State Homeless Assistance Program (SHAP). EHA provides funds for existing local programs or for the creation of new programs to assist homeless people or people at-risk of becoming homeless. SHAP provides operating support to emergency shelters and their associated supportive services for homeless people. An additional $2.5 million was allocated for the preservation of existing affordable homes with federal project based rental assistance contracts. 

— Posted on 7/23/2015

Paulsen LIHPRHA bill passes House

On July 14, 2015 the House of Representatives passed H. R. 2482, the “Preservation Enhancement and Savings Opportunity Act of 2015” under suspension of the rules. This bill was introduced by Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and would amend the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990 (LIHPRHA) to allow for increased distributions and refinancing opportunities for property owners.

H.R. 2482 is the latest version of legislation that the House Financial Services Committee has been considering for several years and upon which the National Preservation Working Group has provided many detailed comments. PWG members are pleased that the bill passed yesterday incorporates several important provisions sought by our members.

H.R. 2482 includes the following preservation provisions:
The owner must in compliance with the LIHPRA use agreement;
The owner must set aside appropriate reserves necessary to address planned future repairs and replacements before drawing surplus cash or residual receipts from the property;
The owner must continue to operate the property as affordable for its useful life pursuant to the use agreement;
Prior to distributing any new loan proceeds, the owner shall provide for capital repairs arising from a CNA satisfactory to a lender or bond issuer;
Rent increases for unassisted tenants will be limited to 10 percent per year.

It’s unclear who will carry the bill in the Senate or what its prospects are this session.

— Posted on 7/17/2015

Portland City Council Approves Affordable Housing Incentives

On July 10th the Portland City Council voted  to support the creation of new incentives for affordable housing construction. Under the new incentive program, developers seeking to build to the maximum density currently allowed in the Central City would provide affordable housing within their project, or pay into a fund for the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

Based on average levels of development activity in the Central City, the bonus could result in as many as 60 additional units per year, or $120-200 million for affordable housing development and rehabilitation over 20 years.

Read about the new incentive program here. 

— Posted on 7/13/2015

Boardman Residents Purchase Manufactured Home Community

Residents of Bella Vista Estates in Boardman recently purchased the 127-space manufactured housing community providing stability and affordable living for its residents. Formerly Desert Springs Estates — Bella Vista Estates is one of seven resident-owned communities in Oregon. Purchase by the resident owned coop preserves the community and gives the residents control of its future. Without resident ownership, lower income tenants could face eviction or higher rents imposed by a new owner over which they have no say.

Working with Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation, or CASA of Oregon, Bella Vista formed a cooperative group to secure financing and completed the sale on January 31st. CASA of Oregon was able to help Bella Vista secure $3.15 million in funding to buy the park. CASA Executive Director Peter Hainley said converting to resident-owned communities takes the speculation out of the property, and ensures the co-ops will keep rates affordable for everybody.

According to data provided by CASA of Oregon, there are approximately 1,293 manufactured housing parks with 65,500 spaces statewide. This represents a majority of the affordable housing stock available to low- and fixed-income Oregonians.

Read George Plaven’s story about Bella Vista Estates in the East Oregonian here.

— Posted on 3/25/2014

OHCS to Re-establish Preservation Set-Aside for LHITC NOFA

On March 14, 2014, Oregon Housing and Community Services issued a Technical Advisory regarding the 2014 and 2015 Multifamily Housing Finance LIHTC NOFA Parameters which announced a return to a set-aside for “Big P” Preservation projects. This will be a “soft” set-aside, meaning if no projects in the region met the eligibility criteria, other projects will be funded instead. OHCS announced the set-aside will be in place for two years with some changes possible in 2015 and beyond: 

2014 - Establish a 35% soft set-aside for preservation projects with at least 25 percent ofthe units having federal project-based rent subsidies.

2015 - Retain the 35% soft set-aside for preservation projects, but expand the eligibilityto include what is considered “little p” preservation projects. The definition will be developed with input from affected stakeholders.

Expansion of the Preservation set-aside definition is targeted for the 2015 and 2016 cycles.

Read the Technical Advisory here.


— Posted on 3/25/2014

Housing Advocates Secure Preservation Funds

The Oregon Housing Alliance, Oregon Housing Preservation Project members and other advocates worked together to secure $2.5 million in lottery back bond funds from the Oregon Legislature for preservation project gap funding.

Tom Walsh and Rob Prasch testified before the Joint Ways and Means Capital Construction Subcommittee on February 14 and Housing Alliance members met with Subcommittee members during two Housing Alliance Lobby Days last month.

The opportunity to request additional preservation funds came up just before the start of the short session and the Housing Alliance moved quickly to add a request for $5 million to their legislative agenda. During last year’s session the Capital Construction Subcommittee awarded $5 million for preservation. Oregon Housing and Community Services now has $7.5 million in preservation funds to award and plans to issue a NOFA in late summer. We estimate the $7.5 million will provide the gap funding needed to preserve between 250 and 400 units.

— Posted on 3/07/2014

New NHC Report shows states' housing costs burden

The National Housing Conference published a report Wednesday, February 19th examining the nation’s housing affordability, finding that 18.1 million households in 2012 were “severely cost-burdened,” meaning more than half of their income went toward housing expenses.

Overall, 15.6 percent of all U.S. households (18.1 million households) were severely housing cost burdened in 2012 and 24.7 percent of all renter households were severely burdened. In Oregon, 25.3 percent of renter households were cost burdened in 2012 – up from 23.2 percent in 2009.

Read the full report here.

— Posted on 2/21/2014

Oregon Housing to Restore Preservation Set-Aside

After a series of NOFA stakeholder input work sessions Oregon Housing and Community Services is proposing a 35% set-aside for preservation projects in their 2014 and 2015 LIHTC NOFAs. They are also considering adopting a broader definition of “preservation project” beginning next year which could include Year-15 tax credit projects and other affordable projects that do not have Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts. The Oregon Housing Preservation Project is working with OHCS to define the expanded universe of projects that will be eligible to access the preservation set-aside. See the OHCS Multifamily Technical Advisory here.

— Posted on 2/13/2014

Oregon 202 Secures Senior Project Rental Assistance Contract Award

On December 17, 2013, HUD announced $14.8 million in new Rental Assistance contracts to be used to preserve HUD 202 Senior Housing Developments. Westmoreland’s Union Manor in Portland was awarded 84 new units under HUD’s first Senior Project Rental Assistance Contract (SPRAC) NOFA. Congratulations to Union Labor Retirement, Manor Management Services and the Housing Development Center for their successful application. Westmoreland’s Union Manor has served Portland area seniors for nearly 50 years and will soon be fully renovated and refinanced using 4% LIHTC and an FHA 221(d)(4) Sub Rehab loan.
The HUD announcement about the SPRAC awards is here.

— Posted on 12/27/2013

USDA Receives Rental Assistance Funding

As of December 18th USDA had received sufficient funds to continue to fund and renew any expiring Rental Assistance agreements through the end of the Continuing Resolution in January 2014. The agency has agreed to waive late fees for borrowers who may have been charged for late December mortgage payments.

— Posted on 12/26/2013

USDA Rural Development Investments in Rural Oregon Tallied for FY 2013

During fiscal year 2013, USDA Rural Development provided loans, loan guarantees and grants amounting to more than $589 million in rural Oregon, including:

* Affordable home loan and home repair assistance for more than 3,100    rural Oregon families,
* Investments in 64 rural business and energy projects, and
* More than $26.4 million invested in infrastructure and public facilities.

Click here to view a summary of USDA Rural Development’s investments in Oregon by program.

— Posted on 12/12/2013

As Overall Program Funding for USDA Rural Development Shrinks, the Need for Rental Assistance has Grown

The Housing Assistance Council published a new research note on USDA's Section 521 Rental Assistance program and its ongoing funding crisis. The Section 521 Rental Assistance program is the single largest line item within the USDA/Rural Development budget. Given the current trend towards reducing government spending, Rental Assistance costs threaten to take over funding for the rest of USDA’s rural housing programs, and even other programs that fall in the Rural Development section of the department. Read the HAC Research Note here.

— Posted on 12/10/2013

Rural Development Exhausts Rental Assistance Funds - Not Enough Under the Continuing Resolution

As of November 20, 2013, Rural Development has exhausted the Section 521 Rental Assistance funding appropriated under the continuing resolution that funds the government through January 15, 2014.  Rural Development has requested approval from USDA and OMB to request additional funding from Congress.  Advocates have requested additional information from Rural Development about how many properties will be impacted. 

— Posted on 11/21/2013

HUD Evidence Matters on Preservation

Preservation of the existing affordable rental housing is good public policy and provides affordable housing options for renters of all ages and family sizes. The Summer 2013 issue of HUD’s Evidence Matters explores a range of state and local strategies which promote affordable housing preservation. The leadership of the John D. and Catherine T. Foundation, one of the primary funders of the Oregon Housing Preservation Project, is highlighted in the article.

The articles featured include, “Preserving Affordable Rental Housing: A Snapshot of Growing Need, Current Threats, and Innovative Solutions,” which reviews the economic and demographic trends prompting increasing demand for affordable housing, the threats to the existing housing stock, and the programs and tactics used by governmental and nonprofit organizations to preserve affordable housing. “Research Spotlight: How Research Tools Are Assisting Communities To Preserve, Plan Affordable Housing” considers the efforts of New York University’s Furman Center and the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center to map affordable housing subsidies and availability to better target areas most in need of preservation. And “In Practice: Models for Affordable Housing Preservation” examines the role that preservation compacts and state housing trust funds play in protecting affordable housing and economic diversity.

The Summer 2013 Issue of Evidence Matters can be found here.

— Posted on 9/12/2013

Walnut Park Apartments Wins 2013 MetLife Foundation Award

On August 28, 2013, MetLife Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. named REACH Community Development a recipient of the 2013 MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Housing, lauding the nonprofit’s Walnut Park Apartments. The Portland based CDC was acknowledged for incorporating Best Practices in Health Care, Supportive Services and Green Building in the acquisition and renovation of the Walnut Park Apartments.

This year’s MetLife Foundation Award focused on connecting senior housing to health care programs, supportive services and green building standards. Four winners were selected in the national competition, with each receiving a $50,000 unrestricted grant to sustain and to expand its work in senior housing.

“Walnut Park is a perfect example of how community partners came together to save existing affordable housing and create a sustainable asset for the neighborhood,” said Dan Valliere, CEO, REACH CDC.

In 2009 REACH acquired Walnut Park Apartments with financing provided by NOAH’s Oregon Housing Acquisition Fund. Read more about the Walnut Park and about the Metlife Foundation Award here.

— Posted on 9/03/2013

HUD Reports Record-Breaking Worst Case Housing Needs

On August 16, 2013, HUD released its Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: Report to Congress. “Worst case housing needs” are those of very low income renters (below 50% of Area Median Income) who do not receive government housing assistance and who either spend more than half of their income on rent, live in severely inadequate conditions, or who face both of these challenges.

According to the Report, the number of renters with worst case housing needs grew to a record 8.48 million in 2011, from a previous high of 7.10 million in 2009. There has been a 43% increase in worst case housing needs since 2007. The report shows the gap between worst case housing needs and assisted households is the highest ever recorded, with two worst case housing needs households for every one assisted household.

An executive summary of the report was released in February. The full report is available here:

— Posted on 8/27/2013

Portland City Council Recognizes the Successful Completion of its 11 by 13 Preservation Campaign

On August 14th the Portland Housing Bureau, with Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish, recognized a milestone in Oregon’s preservation initiative by celebrating the successful completion of the city’s 11 by 13 Housing Preservation Campaign. The city’s 11 by 13 Campaign resulted in the preservation 11 properties with expiring Section 8 rental assistance contracts which provide affordable homes to hundreds of Portland’s low income seniors, disabled citizens and families.

Under Commissioner Fish’s leadership, in 2008 the city launched the 11 by 13 Campaign which sought to preserve all 11 buildings having contracts set to expire by 2013. The buildings provide more than 700 modest affordable homes. Through the successful preservation of the 11 buildings under the Campaign, these 700 homes will remain affordable for the next 60 years.

At the August 14th event the successful completion of 11 by 13 was recognized by the City Council with partners in attendance including Northwest Housing Alternatives, REACH CDC, Guardian Management, Cedar Sinai Park, Winkler Development Corp. and Harsch Investment Properties, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) and Will White, former Portland Housing Bureau Director and current Senior Policy Adviser to U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.

For more about the event visit the Portland Housing Bureau website. A video of the presentations to City Council is available here.

— Posted on 8/23/2013

Advocates Secure $5 Million for Preservation

Since 2007 Lottery Backed Bond and General Fund dollars have filled project financing gaps and contributed to the preservation of thousands of units of critically needed assisted housing throughout Oregon. There are still many projects with federal rental assistance contracts at-risk. This past July advocates were very pleased when the Legislature approved $5 million in Lottery Backed Bond funding for preservation transactions.

$5 million in Lottery Backed Bonds committed by the State this session will provide the gap financing resources OHCS needs to successfully preserve around 300 additional units of at-risk rental housing with attached federal rental assistance. $5 million in dedicated preservation funds will leverage an estimated $25 million in private capital for preservation transactions and will help secure $25 - $30 million in federal rental assistance payments over the next 20 years.

Preservation of assisted housing was one of the Oregon Housing Alliance legislative agenda items for the 2013 session. Together we must continue to take action to ensure the preservation of these to help keep Oregon’s communities affordable for Oregonians with low incomes.

— Posted on 7/16/2013

Sequestration Impacts Low Income Renters Hard

As a result of sequestration HUD estimates 140,000 fewer low-income families may receive housing vouchers and many current voucher holders will pay higher rents. A new paper by Doug Rice, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), focuses on the impacts sequestration has on low income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

According to Rice half of the households in the voucher program are seniors or people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, the rest are families with children. These households typically have incomes well below the poverty line and cannot afford housing without assistance.

The across the board budget cuts come at a time when the number of low-income households in need of housing assistance has been rising substantially. HUD’s 2011 Worst Case Housing Report due out next month shows the number of renters with incomes below 50 percent of the median income paying more than half of their income for housing or who live in severely substandard housing, has risen by 43 percent since 2007, to 8.5 million households.

Currently 1 in 4 eligible households receives a voucher or some other form of federal rental assistance and the average household income for these households is just $12,500 - just 19% of area median incomes and well below the poverty line of about $18,000 for a family of three.

The cuts under sequestration will contribute to further losses of public housing and make fewer vouchers available as public housing agencies take vouchers out of circulation in response to funding cuts.

Read Doug Rice’s paper here on the CBPP website.

Locally, Home Forward, the public housing agency whose jurisdiction includes Portland and Multnomah County, estimates available vouchers for the rest of the year may be reduced by as many as 600 as returned vouchers are put on the shelf. In an effort to respond to reduced federal funding both voucher holders and residents in public housing will experience an increase in their rent. Learn more about Home Forward’s response to sequestration on their website here.

— Posted on 4/10/2013

NOAH Supports HB 3007 which provides residents of Manufactured home communities the opportunity to make an offer to purchase

HB 3007 requires owners of residential facilities to offer tenants, alone or in cooperation with a nonprofit organization or housing authority, the opportunity to purchase before the facility can be offered for sale to a third party.  The bill is sponsored by Rep. Nathanson, and is supported by the Manufactured Housing/Oregon State Tenants Association, as well as the Oregon Housing Alliance.  The Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) strongly supports HB 3007.

Manufactured homes have traditionally provided some of Oregon’s most affordable homeownership opportunities and are a critical source of affordable housing for homeowners with lower incomes.  There are an estimated 64,325 people currently living in 1,158 manufactured home parks in Oregon. 54% of the residents are 55 years of age or older and 66% have a household income of less than $30,000 per year.  14% have household incomes under $14,000 per year.
Over 80% of the manufactured homes in Oregon on rented land are owner-occupied. These homeowners lease space in a manufactured home community but do not own the land on which their homes sit.  With very limited protections under the law, thousands of these homeowners face displacement should park owners decide to close the community and covert the land to some other use.
HB 3007 will provide residents an opportunity to offer to purchase the park where their homes are located and will help preserve this critical source of affordable housing.  Encouraging resident ownership of manufactured home parks improves the neighborhood and brings greater stability and security for the community.
For more than 20 years NOAH has provided financing for new and existing affordable multifamily rental housing here in Oregon.  We are committed to protecting and preserving Oregon’s existing affordable housing and since 2009, we have provided financing for Manufactured Home Park acquisitions by the community’s residents. 

— Posted on 4/09/2013