SALEM, OR -- Governor Tina Kotek signed four bills Thursday she says address the state’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Kotek acknowledged there is still work to do on the housing front, but called the package a step in the right direction, "I am signing bills that show we are making progress, to make sure that every Oregonian has a place to live - a safe and secure place to be."
The legislation sens millions of dollars to rental assistance and other housing programs and provides funding for homeless shelters, "We must both prevent homelessness and rehouse people living outside, one household at a time," said Kotek.
Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) chairs the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness and said, "$10 million will go towards community-based housing for our agricultural workers and their families. These individuals pick our food and care for our crops. Many of these hard-working people have struggled to keep their families safely housed." She added, "By supporting their ability to live in community with other farmworker families, closer to schools and services, we help create a more resilient and compassionate agricultural economy." There’s also assistance for college students struggling with housing instability, programs to help tenants at risk of eviction, funding for local governments to develop housing and reduced restrictions on multi-family construction.
Kotek said, "These bills represent progress and they are about helping Oregonians and Oregon communities that need help." She also answered questions about shelters that received one-time pandemic relief running out of funding, saying she’s looking into the issue.
Looking ahead to the 2024 short session, the Governor said she's pushing for more housing development, "We are focusing on the work of the Housing Production Advisory Council, where we have bipartisan legislative involvement. We need to come into next session with a clear agenda on housing production, which includes taking up the issue of land supply." That land supply conversation started at the end of the 2023 session, so Kotek is optimistic it will move forward.