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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Next steps after OR legislators make 'groundbreaking' housing investments

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Thursday, April 18, 2024   

Oregon lawmakers passed a major housing package in this year's session, but said easing the state's housing crisis will take more work.

Bills passed during the short legislative session will send a total of $376 million to address the state's housing shortage, including Senate Bill 1530 and Senate Bill 1537, priorities for Gov. Tina Kotek.

Shannon Vilhauer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Oregon, said the governor's housing package is groundbreaking.

"We also see important investments in emergency housing assistance, addiction recovery support and renters protections," Vilhauer pointed out. "Those are all investments that are going to help stabilize Oregonians in need of housing assistance and benefit the communities we all share."

The housing package includes funds for housing and homelessness projects and to support counties buying land and developing properties.

However, Vilhauer argued there is still more to do to address the crisis. During the next legislative session, she hopes the state will help first-time homebuyers, as well as make other investments.

"Preserving affordable rental homes that exist now but are at risk of terming out of their affordability and going market rate," Vilhauer explained. "We'd love to see that affordable housing preservation investment move forward in a strong way."

Vilhauer acknowledged the housing issue in Oregon cannot be solved immediately. It is a problem decades in the making.

"It will take a concerted effort over time to continue to make headway," Vilhauer stressed. "We're starting to get there but we need to keep going with a sustained effort."


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