1221 SW 4th Ave Ste 230, Portland, OR 97204
A Note from Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman
"The most critical issue facing our city today is the ability of all Portlanders to have access to safe, decent, affordable housing. As our City continues to grow, we have seen vacancy rates remain too low, average rents rise too quickly, and have heard from residents time and again how increasingly unaffordable our City has become. We all have a responsibility to shape Portland’s story in the coming years, and how we tackle our affordable housing crisis today will define this city far into the future. When I first became Housing Commissioner in 2013, I set out to do several things. First, I wanted to increase the funding streams available to develop and sustain affordable housing. Second, I wanted to implement key policies that would incentivize developers to include affordability in their projects, ensuring the private sector helps us pay for growth. Third, we have actively promoted equity and inclusion in our affordable housing projects, specifically in areas that have experienced rapid gentrification. For more information about the things we are doing to achieve these objectives, read below and bookmark this page for further updates. Feel free to contact our office anytime for more information."
Referred Affordable Housing Bond to Portland Voters
City Council voted on June 30th to refer a General Obligation Bond measure to City Voters that, if passed, would authorize issuance of $258.4 million of general obligation bonds for affordable housing. More information can be found on the City Elections Page.
Inclusionary Housing & Construction Excise Tax
The City of Portland’s number one legislative priority for the 2016 short session was to lift the statewide ban on Inclusionary housing. Inclusionary housing is an affordable housing tool that links the production of affordable housing to the production of market-rate housing. Inclusionary housing policies produce affordable housing by requiring new residential developments to include a certain percentage of affordable housing units. SB 1533-B also gives local governments the ability to establish a construction excise tax on development to increase ongoing funding for affordable housing.
Partnered with Multnomah County to Open New Joint Office for Homeless Services
In June, City Council voted to approve an Intergovernmental Agreement with Multnomah County to establish a joint office for homeless services comprised of both city and county staff. The new Joint office will maximize efficiency by consolidating policy staff under one roof and streamlining our efforts to combat homelessness in our community..
Portland Housing Bureau Purchases the Joyce Hotel
The Joyce has been a staple in Portland for providing much needed affordable, transitional housing for people who have few other options. After tenants were issued an eviction notice in December, the City put an initial offer to purchase the building to ensure that tenants would not be displaced. The City announced in June the purchase of the building. Central City Concern will operate the hotel, assessing individual tenants and offering additional services as necessary. PHB will relocate remaining residents when it rehabilitates the hotel and addresses exigent health and safety issues. See quotes on the purchase below:
“I am very pleased that the Joyce Hotel will remain open so that some of the most vulnerable people in our community will have a safe place to go, rather than being out on the street,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “As a compassionate city, we must continue to prioritize our resources to invest in the social safety net for Portlanders who are most vulnerable and at risk.”
Streamlining the Development of Affordable Housing
The Portland Housing Bureau and the Bureau of Development Services have been working collaboratively over the last several months to coordinate efforts to streamline the review and permitting of Affordable Housing projects and to enhance outreach efforts to the development community to better promote the opportunities and incentives to build affordable housing. Read more about this collaboration in a memo from the bureau directors.
Having acknowledged the severity of the current housing crisis, this cross-bureau collaboration will speed up processing time and reduce delays for affordable housing projects in the city. The ordinance and resolution for proposed changes to the development process for affordable housing were passed unanimously by City Council on March 9th.
Short Term Rentals & Affordable Housing
In this tight rental market, it is clear to many that the sharing economy and short term rentals in particular may contribute to a lack of affordable housing stock. On December 16, Council supported a resolution first brought to Council in June to link the city’s income from lodging taxes collected from short term rental companies such as Airbnb to our Housing Investment Fund (HIF). This new dedicated source of funding for the HIF is expected to generate approximately $1.2 million.
Largest Notification of Funding Availability (NOFA) To-Date
PHB announced it has $61.6 million in local and federal funds for affordable housing project proposals. This investment is expected to generate another $150-200 million in economic activity and produce over 600 new affordable units. In partnership with the County, PDC and the City, we have put out 5 properties and over $60M dollars in funding.
New & Improved Tax Exemptions
City Council and the Multnomah County Commission supported recent changes to the Multiple-Unit Limited Tax Exemption (MULTE) Program to improve access, ease of use for private developers and increase the supply of affordable housing units in private market developments. Since improvements were made to the program, City Council has approved over 400 affordable units and 11 projects.
First-Step Tenant Protections
These regulations provide tenants a 90-day notice for no-cause termination of tenancies and rent increases of 5% or more over a 12-month period. These new protections went into effect November 13, 2015. During the 2015 Legislative Session, the State Legislature passed their own set of tenant protections. You can read the bill here. Questions? Call our office at (503) 823-4151.
Support for Low-Income Renters and Eviction Prevention
In the October Fall budget adjustment, we secured funding for two programs helping our most vulnerable populations retain their housing. The first is a joint effort with Home Forward to help Section 8 voucher holders help find and secure rental housing. The second is a fund for victims of domestic violence to retain housing and prevent them and their children from entering homelessness. In the last point-in-time street count, 45% of homeless women indicated they had been effected by domestic violence.
New Partnership to Support Land Acquisition for Affordable Housing
The Portland Housing Bureau has invested $1 million in the Oregon Housing Acquisition Fund. This new partnership between the City of Portland and the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) provides financing and technical assistance for affordable housing development. This is a critical tool that will allow our affordable housing partners to act quickly in an escalating and dynamic market to acquire new sites for affordable housing developments. This new investment to leverages public and private resources for land banking to enhance our funding and make it more accessible to nonprofit and for-profit borrowers, for both rental and homeownership development projects citywide.
Increased Shelter Beds by 475+
Since declaring the State of Emergency in December, The City and the County and community members have partnered together to increase the number of shelter beds by over 475. Read below to learn more about the new operating shelters. Multnomah County & The City of Portland are aiming to open 650 shelter beds by the end of 2017.
Hansen Building Shelter (replacement for the Peace Shelter closing in July)
Population Served: Women + Couples, Men
Opening Late July
Jerome Sears Shelter
Population served: Women & Couples
Opened – November 2015
Capacity - 150 beds
Peace Shelter (Generously donated by the Menashe Family)
Population served: Men, preference for veterans, disabled & 55 +
Opened – January 2016
Capacity – 100 beds
Human Solutions Family Shelter
Population served: Families & Women in 3rd trimester
Opened – February 2016
Capacity – 134 (no-turn away policy)
Addressing Displacement & Gentrification in N/NE Portland
We are changing the way we engage the community and address the serious problem of gentrification and displacement. Through a $20 million commitment from City Council and the Portland Development Commission, the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy, a community-led effort, meets and offers oversight of public spending efforts in the North and Northeast neighborhoods. Next year, we will be putting into place a preference policy which will prioritize community members who live or have generational ties to the North and Northeast neighborhoods for housing placements, and homeownership opportunities. N/NE Housing Strategy presented its first annual report to Council in February.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Set-Aside Increase
In October, with a coalition of support, we increased the urban renewal TIF set-aside from 30% to 45%. This shifts an additional $66.7 million to affordable housing to be used in the Urban Renewal Areas in the next 5 years.