Friday, April 10

  • 10 AM – 12 Noon
  • First Congregational United Church of Christ
  • 700 Marion Street NE & Cottage St. NE, Salem

 

A Rural Policy Council will start up Friday, April 10th to help guide Housing Oregon’s advocacy and public policy efforts with a focus on advancing affordable housing needs for rural Oregon communities. Numerous Housing Oregon member organization executive directors made it clear there was a need for such a policy table.

This policy table will place the voices of Housing Oregon members with rural-based development projects and programs front and center. The group’s efforts will focus on fostering productive relationships among member organizations along with public and private partners. We’ll focus on tracking implementation of legislation championed by the Housing Alliance along with OHCS administrative rule making and development of new policy priorities affecting affordable housing throughout rural Oregon.

We have been communicating with OHCS staff to coordinate how best to coordinate efforts. A key goal is to track progress on OCHS efforts to implement Statewide Housing Plan priorities, especially priorities addressing rural communities and racial justice and equity. OHCS leaders have indicated they see value engaging with Housing Oregon members when we speak with a collective voice.

Twelve Housing Oregon members participated in two planning meetings in December and January to share their ideas for how best to organize this effort. Both Maria (Meg) Guerra, Executive Director of Farmworker Housing Development Corporation based in Woodburn, and Peter Hainly, Executive Director of Casa of Oregon, based in Sherwood, agreed to be co-chairs.

The initial meeting will focus on developing agenda topics to engage with OHCS during this spring and summer. Priorities already identified will include:

  • LIFT program – Reviewing OHCS progress towards meeting goals and targets,
  • HB 2003 – Working with OHCS on implementation re: housing production plans,
  • Home Ownership – Advocating for recommendations from the Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership, and,
  • Capacity building – Advocating for OHCS to develop pre-development and TA capacity building grants and programs.

OHCS staff are also considering topics that would be important for them to engage with Housing Oregon members.

We also need to work out details on how best to coordinate with the Portland Metro Policy Council, Housing Oregon’s other policy council. Further discussion is needed on how best to represent members’ interests based in other urban areas including Eugene, Salem, Bend and Medford. Perhaps convening joint meetings of both policy councils or reviving the Statewide Policy Council is still needed on issues of common statewide interest.

The planning group was supportive of including representatives from urban based member organizations with development projects and programs in rural Oregon. The planning group discussed multiple definitions of what “rural” means and were open to who participates in meetings for now.

For questions or information contact Brian Hoop at 503-475-6056 or brian@housingoregon.org.