November 8, 2011
When the City Council adopted the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Set-Aside policy in 2006, it directed that we do a thorough review of the program at the 5-year mark.
Last Spring, to comply with this mandate, we asked a Stakeholder Advisory Committee to take a hard look at the city’s Tax Increment Financing Set-Aside Policy for Affordable Housing and to recommend improvements. Our Committee included a variety of housing experts: members of the business community, non-profit leaders, and both City and Multnomah County staff.
This afternoon at 2:00, Council will consider their suggested updates to improve the program over the next five years.
The Set-Aside provides a permanent source of funding for affordable housing by 'setting aside' a dedicated portion of TIF money specifically for the creation and preservation of affordable homes, serving some of our most vulnerable neighbors. (What’s TIF? Click here for more.)
Here's the good news: in its first five years, the Set-Aside generated more than $152 million, helping to fund projects like Bud Clark Commons, Block 49 veteran’s housing in the South Waterfront, and our 11x13 campaign to preserve affordable homes across the city. It has also supported homeownership programs like down payment and home repair assistance. All told, 33% of TIF funds went to supporting affordable housing in our community, exceeding the 30% goal.
The suggested updates will make the Set-Aside policy more efficient and more effective by:
- Reaffirming the City’s commitment to invest a minimum of 30% of TIF funds for affordable housing.
- Preserving existing income guidelines, which ensure that Set-Aside dollars fund projects that prioritize hard-working families, people with disabilities, older adults and low-income households.
- Increasing coordination between PHB and the Portland Development Commission to maximize efficiency.
There are challenges ahead: need is increasing, and over the next five years we'll have fewer TIF dollars to address that need.
Our proposed recommendations will position us to meet those challenges by strengthening the already-successful program. They clarify the intent of the policy, streamline its implementation, and sharpen its methodology.
Thank you to the Committee members for their time and attention to this important policy issue, and to the team at PHB for all their great work.
"Council to clarify affordable housing funding" - Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune
"Council considers extension on dedicated affordable housing money" - Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian