Eugene Affordable Housing News
IN THIS ISSUE | Summer 2019
  • Eugene Affordable Housing News
  • City Council Establishes Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Seeking Applicants for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee
  • City Council Approves Action Plan
  • Creating Access to Fair Housing in Eugene
  • CDBG Advisory Committee Takes a Tour
  • Ya-Po-Ah Terrace Rehabilitation is Underway
  • Groundbreakings for New Developments Supported by Eugene
  • Results from the Renters Experience Survey
  • Springfield Eugene Tenant Association Supports Renters
  • Housing Tools and Strategies
  • City Council Moves Forward with Implementing TAC Report Recommendations

Eugene Affordable Housing News

The Eugene Affordable Housing News highlights progress made by the City of Eugene and community partners to create housing opportunities affordable to lower income persons. The City Council adopted Affordable Housing and Community Development Strategies as part of the five-year 2015 Consolidated Plan . Strategies and goals in the Consolidated Plan guide the work of the Housing Opportunities Team.

This fall, the City will undergo the process of updating its Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan, which will include extensive community outreach and data analysis prior to City Council's adoption of the plans.

This is the second edition of Eugene Affordable Housing News , which aims to keep readers informed of the City's affordable housing programs, progress, and accomplishments. Click the "Sign up for Eugene Affordable Housing News" button below to view the previous edition or to sign up to receive future Eugene Affordable Housing News publications.

City Council Establishes
Affordable Housing Trust Fund
In 2016, Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1533 authorizing Oregon cities and counties to establish a construction excise tax (CET) to support the development of affordable housing. A CET is a one-time tax imposed on new construction and applies to residential and commercial construction based on the permit valuation. The City Council and the State Legislature both recognize traditional funding sources for affordable housing, especially federal sources, have declined over time. To help address the reduction in resources available for affordable housing, City Council passed an ordinance in April 2019, implementing a local CET that will contribute to an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. For the first two years of implementation, the CET will be offset by a reduction in Systems Development Charges. In addition, the City will contribute $500,000 annually towards this fund. The ordinance went into effect on July 1, 2019. An information sheet is available.

City Council held a work session at the end of July to review the timeline and process for Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The presentation and recorded session are available for viewing.

Next steps include forming the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee, convening committee meetings, and identifying programs for the use of the funds. Staff will return to Council in January 2020 to propose programs and the funding allocation.
Seeking Applicants for the
Affordable Housing Trust Fund
Advisory Committee
The City is seeking applicants for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee. The committee will be comprised of nine members, to include a home builder, realtor, person with business background, renter, housing advocate, a member of the Human Rights Commission, and at-large members. Applications are being accepted August 9 through September 6, 2019 . For more information, please visit the Affordable Housing Trust Fund web page or contact Stephanie Jennings (
City Council Approves Action Plan
In May, City Council approved the Eugene-Springfield 2020 One-Year Action Plan for affordable housing, human services, and job creation investments. The proposed uses of funds support strategies in the adopted Eugene-Springfield 2015 Consolidated Plan. The Action Plan is an allocation of funds received through two federal programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME). Eugene anticipates receiving $1,391,534 in CDBG funds and $1,215,155 in HOME funds for fiscal year 2020.
Creating Access to Fair Housing in Eugene
Access to safe, decent, and affordable housing is a critical factor in creating stability and opportunity for all Eugene residents. Historic, systemic, and individual discrimination impact access to housing. The City of Eugene works to remove barriers by engaging in policy analysis and recommendations, along with providing outreach, education, and assistance to community members experiencing discrimination.

April is national Fair Housing Month and in 2019, the 51st anniversary of the passing of the Federal Fair Housing Act was celebrated nationwide. Mayor Lucy Vinis declared April as Fair Housing Month in Eugene. Additionally, Mayor Vinis was a guest reader during Pajama Storytime at the Eugene Public Library, as a part of celebrating Fair Housing Month (pictured above).

The City of Eugene contracts with Fair Housing Council of Oregon to provide Fair Housing education, assistance, and advocacy to community members. To learn more, visit the Fair Housing Council of Oregon website.

This fall, the City will begin updating its Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing and its Fair Housing Plan. This process involves comprehensive data collection, consultations with public and private agencies, and extensive community engagement.
CDBG Advisory Committee Takes a Tour
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Advisory Committee advises the Planning and Development Department on the proposed uses of CDBG funds. The committee conducts CDBG program reviews, solicits and receives comments from the public, and conducts public hearings. Each spring, the committee tours CDBG-funded projects. This year's tour included housing at Vet LIFT (St. Vincent de Paul), Station 7 and New Roads (Looking Glass), Eugene Community Service Center (Catholic Community Services), and Wheel Apizza Pub, a business supported by Eugene's CDBG Business Growth Loan program. Councilor Semple and staff accompanied the committee along the tour.
Ya-Po-Ah Terrace Rehabilitation is Underway
In December 2018, the City of Eugene closed its largest Rental Rehabilitation loan to date, lending $1,500,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. These funds were provided through the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will benefit Ya-Po-Ah Terrace Retirement Apartments.
Located near Skinner Butte, Ya-Po-Ah Terrace is the tallest building in Lane County. Since 1968, the building has provided 222 units dedicated to seniors aged 62 and older. Of those, 210 apartments are for seniors with very low incomes who pay no more than 30% of their income as rent. The average resident is over 76 years of age and has an income of $15,910 per year.
As seen in the above image, the substantial rehabilitation project is underway (photo credits to Meadowhawk Imagery). Exterior improvements are progressing as planned. The siding contractor plans to group floors together and painting will start soon, both of which will result in more outward changes to Ya-Po-Ah’s appearance in the weeks to come. Interior upgrades of the top three floors have been completed thus far. While floors are under construction, residents are temporarily relocated to local long-stay hotels, apartments or available units in the building. Returning residents have said they are extremely pleased with their renovated units and are happy to be back home.
The rehabilitation of Ya-Po-Ah Terrace will allow the continuation of federal subsidies to preserve these units as affordable housing for current and future residents. Construction is planned to be completed by the end of 2020.
Groundbreakings for New Developments Supported by Eugene
Two groundbreaking events for new affordable housing developments supported by the City of Eugene occurred recently.

Homes For Good broke ground in July on Market District Commons at 6th Avenue and Oak Street (rendering above). This mixed-use project will create 50 residential units, of which, fifteen units will serve veterans, along with veterans and persons with disabilities experiencing homelessness; the remaining spaces will be for households earning less than 60% area median income.

Pictured above, Mayor Vinis spoke at the Market District Commons groundbreaking about Eugene's support for this development. The partnership between Homes For Good, local governments, and the Obie Companies represents a strong collaboration between public and private developers, and allows for the creation of housing opportunities for persons with lower incomes in downtown Eugene. To support this development, the City of Eugene loaned $700,000 in HOME funds and $700,000 in a construction loan, and awarded a $224,820 Systems Development Charge exemption. Homes For Good secured additional resources, including Low-Income Housing Tax credits, state General Housing Account Program, and a private bank loan to fund the project.

In the second event, Sponsors, Inc. broke ground in April on the Tiny Home Project, located at the southeast corner of Elmira Road and Iowa Street. This new community will be comprised of ten residential units for homeless, low-income individuals returning to Lane County post-incarceration. Eugene awarded $65,767 in a Systems Development Charge exemption. This project is funded in part with grants from the Meyer Memorial Trust, The Collins Foundation, Lane County Housing Improvement Program, and the Oregon Community Foundation.
Results from the
Renters Experiences Survey
The Intergovernmental Housing Policy Board (HPB) acts as a forum for public input on community issues related to affordable housing. It reviews low-income housing issues and makes policy, funding, and other recommendations regarding affordable housing to Eugene and Lane County governments.

In the fall and winter, the HPB Renter Protections Task Team held listening sessions with renters to learn about their experiences in the Eugene rental market. In January, the task team administered a city-wide "Renters Experiences Survey," which resulted in 851 completed surveys, to better understand rental housing affordability, availability, access, quality, and stability.

Highlights from the 17-question survey included that over 56% of respondents reported feeling unsatisfied with their rental home, mainly because the rent was too high. In terms of availability, 71% of renters described the process of finding their current rental home as competitive and stressful. About one-third of respondents reported feeling discriminated against based on all protected classes, but especially based on legal source of income, disability, familial status, age, and marital or domestic partnership status. Of the 661 respondents who indicated that they are not satisfied with current housing, nearly 38% indicated that the condition of their rental home condition is substandard. When asked if respondents had ever been asked or forced to leave a rental home in Eugene, 25% indicated they had for a variety of reasons, including significant rent increase, no-cause lease termination, the rental home was sold or foreclosed upon, or they were displaced because the owner's family members moved back on, or due to renovations. Despite familiarity with current resources, including the Eugene Rental Housing code, Fair Housing Council of Oregon, and the City's Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement office, renters reported feeling fearful of utilizing services due to potential landlord retaliation. The Renters Experiences Survey Summary is available for review.

In March, City Council provided staff direction to work with the Housing Policy Board on developing recommendations for consideration related to expanding or adding new rental housing policies and programs. The Housing Policy Board is forming a Renters Protections Committee for this work, which is expected to convene at the end of August.
For more information on the Housing Policy Board, the Eugene Rental Housing Code, or the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, please click the buttons below.
Springfield Eugene Tenant Association
Supports Renters
The Springfield Eugene Tenant Association, SETA, is a new nonprofit, public service organization dedicated to renters' rights and interests. They accomplish their goals by assisting, educating, and empowering tenants in the Springfield-Eugene area.

The SETA Tenant Hotline has been established to assist tenants. The hotline may be reached at: 541-972-3715. For more information, please visit the SETA website .
Housing Tools and Strategies
In May 2018, City Council passed a motion directing staff to implement a process of identifying barriers to housing affordability, availability, and diversity, and to suggest, evaluate, and recommend possible strategies to address the barriers. The process that resulted was the Housing Tools and Strategies Working Group. Staff shared the Working Group's progress with City Council in December. In March and July, staff p rese nted progress updates to City Council, including work being done on land use, process efficiencies, and housing opportunities. To learn more, visit the Housing Tools and Strategies progress web page.
City Council Moves Forward with Implementing Recommendations of the TAC Report
In March 2018, the City of Eugene and Lane County hired Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) to conduct a Public Shelter Feasibility Study and Homeless Service System Analysis in Lane County. TAC presented their final report during a Joint Lane County Board of Commissioners and Eugene City Council meeting in January 2019. Following the meeting, a steering committee including electeds, staff, and nonprofit representatives was formed to advise on the implementation of the recommendations. In July, City Council approved the hiring of a Strategic Initiatives Manager, the allocation of $836,000 to purchase a modular "sprung" shelter, investment in a mobile outreach team, approved $60,000 for a landlord outreach program, and approved $279,000 in contingency fund to support implementation of the recommendations. To read the TAC report, the recommendations, and other City efforts related to homelessness, please click on the "Homelessness" button below.
Upcoming Meetings
City of Eugene Planning & Development Department
Community Development Division
99 W. 10th Avenue | Eugene | OR | 97401