Oregon lawmakers closed out the 2023 legislative session by passing essential legislation to address the state’s housing crisis. Welcome Home is excited to see state lawmakers choose long-term strategies to ensure everyone has a safe, affordable place to call home.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Senate Bill 611 passed, limiting rent increases to 7% plus inflation – capping out at a maximum of 10%. In 2019, Oregon Lawmakers passed the first-ever statewide rent cap based yearly on inflation. This initial policy lacked an upper limit. With last year’s unprecedented inflation, the previous rent cap allowed landlords to raise rents by as much as 14.6% in 2023 – an increase that equals evictions for many Oregonians. This new rent cap will help keep people housed instead of increasing the number of our neighbors becoming homeless.

  • Lawmakers committed $650 million in state-backed bonds to build affordable homes for renters and first-time homebuyers. Oregon has been producing a yearly average of 20,000 affordable housing units. This investment will help local governments reach Governor Kotek’s state-wide goal of 36,000 annually over the next decade.

    Correction: Oregon has produced a yearly average of 20,000 total, not affordable, units. Between 2016 and 2022, Oregon Housing and Community Services funded an average of 4,000 affordable units per year.

  • $170 Million of a $200 million housing package signed into agreement in March will become available starting July 1. The majority of this funding will go to rent assistance to transition 1,200 unsheltered people into housing and prevent evictions. Multnomah County plans to use its portion of the funding to resurrect a pilot program it initiated last summer that paid landlords to house unsheltered people while providing landlords assurances such as landlord-tenant mediation and money to repair damages.

  • A Bill to make it easier to convert commercial buildings into homes passes, waiving system development charges for developers and allowing commercial to residential conversions without zoning changes.

  • House Bill 3042 successfully passes, limiting rent increases for tenants of affordable housing, after subsidies expire and requiring more notice for tenants who might soon lose their affordable rents.

  • Lawmakers passed the Oregon Kids’ Creditcreating a fully refundable $1,000 tax credit for every child aged 0-5 to qualifying low-income families. This landmark tax credit is a giant towards financial stability for families living paycheck to paycheck.

The State’s commitment to a diversity of long-term solutions will have a measurable impact on so many Oregonians facing housing instability. We know these policies alone will not immediately meet our state’s housing needs – but we are on the right track. Let’s keep pushing for strategies that address the root causes of our housing crisis.