SALEM, ORE.—Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is considering a 60-year affordability period for affordable housing developments receiving funding from the agency.
The proposed term would apply to new OHCS funding awards through its consolidated funding cycle, requests for proposals, and other application processes. The standard would apply to per capita credits, grants, and low-interest or deferred-payment loans made from the Housing Trust Fund, HOME program, general housing account, low-income weatherization, preservation funds, and other grant programs.
The term would not apply to projects receiving only OHCS bond financing or 4 percent low-income housing tax credits. However, bond-financed and 4 percent credit projects that also receive grants or loan subsidies would have to comply with the standard.
“By establishing a longer-term affordability requirement for these properties, Oregon can slow the rate at which it loses existing affordable housing and free more resources to address the growing housing needs,” said OHCS Director Victor Merced in a letter to housing partners.
Affordability periods currently range from 10 to 30 years, depending on the funding used. The proposal would establish a standard affordability period in the state.
Under the new OHCS proposal, property owners will have the opportunity to buy out of the affordability at years 40 or 50. To encourage owners to keep the property affordable, the balance will reduce over time.
In developing its proposal, Oregon officials said they researched the qualified allocation plans of several state housing finance agencies. They found that most of the states surveyed encourage sponsors to commit to more than 30 years of affordability. The requirements generally range from 35 to 50 years.
OHCS officials are scheduled to present the proposal at the Jan. 21 meeting of the State Housing Council. They are asking the public to submit comments by Jan. 31.