THE HOUSING INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP (HIP)

THE GOAL: Address Oregon’s Housing Needs

As a state, Oregon needs to produce 360,000 units of housing in the next decade. Current methods for producing housing are inadequate to meet that benchmark. Adequate housing stock is a necessary, crucial component of a vibrant economy, and Oregon’s gap is hindering the state’s economic, social, and livability measures.

Especially notable is the vast gap of housing production at the workforce income level, 60-120% area median income. Housing for teachers, hospitality workers, mill workers, bus drivers—folks that are part of the fabric of every vibrant community. In current market conditions, it is not financially feasible for developers to build workforce housing. As a result, it is vastly underproduced, creating strain on the continuum of housing in Oregon.

Through research & discussion, the Partnership has found top barriers to housing production in Oregon include:

  • Lack of local capacity to navigate the complex permitting and financial hurdles.
  • Low capacity for off-site built construction such as modular housing or panels.
  • Lack of financial capital and tools to build housing.

A collaborative of 35 public, private, civic sector organizations formed in early 2022.

The HIP’s Working Groups

The Modular Housing Workgroup is focused on examining the regulatory, sales, distribution, workforce, and market acceptance issues affecting the modular and prefabricated panels industry. They are working to create a strategy for greater use of off-site construction methods. Off-site production can help reduce construction time by 20-30%, and volumetric and panelized housing can address a range of housing types and markets, from disaster relief to middle housing. Mass timber can also play a critical role in this type of housing as the material can be digitally fabricated, sequesters carbon, and can increase economic development in rural communities.

Increasing the capacity and ability of local governments to carry out community development and housing construction activities is essential to increasing the state’s overall production of needed housing. Solving the current housing crisis will require, at a minimum, a strong collaboration between the State of Oregon and its local government partners. Most Local Comprehensive Plans were adopted over 45 years ago and need to be updated. To do this, cities and counties need staff that is not currently present. This Workgroup is charged with building the capacity for Local Governments to process and make modifications to plans and ordinances that will result in more housing production.

Middle housing is the level of housing needed for individuals with incomes that do not allow them to access public assistance, but who need housing that the market is not currently able to produce at affordable prices. It is generally for people earning between 80% and 120% of AMI. Whether it be modular or stick-built homes, there are no current incentives for this level of housing. The Middle Housing Workgroup was charged to develop financing models and incentives for this type of housing, considering incentives such as density bonuses, tax abatements, targeted technical assistance, and more.

The Research Workgroup has been charged to collaborate with all entities that can contribute to ongoing research around housing. They are working to coordinate the public, private, and civic research capabilities in a way that creates information supporting innovation to reduce Oregon’s housing deficit.

“Our systems for housing production are not always designed to accommodate innovation; in fact, they were designed for a very different time and set of circumstances. This is where our collective job comes in. We need to do things differently than we have in the past to succeed.”

Representative Pam Marsh

Co-Convener, HIP

FINDING SOLUTIONS

Through multi-sector convening and collaboration, the Partnership creates a suite of tools to overcome barriers to housing production. These include grant and loan programs for land acquisition and predevelopment work, as well as funds to increase local capacity at the city and county level to navigate the complex system of development. One innovative solution is a tax-increment financing tool that will be capitalized across the state, creating a durable fund with lasting impact in housing production.

TAKING ACTION

The Partnership’s work offers a sets of tools that offer rapid solutions to increasing housing production to help meet our state’s goals. These tools will enable Oregon communities—urban and rural alike—to build ample housing and support the Governor’s ambitious goal of creating 36,000 units of housing annually.

Join us in this effort to ensure adequate housing – and an abundant economic future – for Oregon.