The Governor’s Regional Solutions initiated an effort to address the state-wide shortage of workforce
housing. In her travels across the state, Governor Kate Brown has heard
from employers, workers, and local leaders that the lack of workforce housing
is a constraint to continued growth and prosperity.
With Governor Brown’s leadership, state
agencies have reviewed their programs to find opportunities to partner with
local governments, the business sector, and housing developers to address the
workforce housing shortage in Oregon. A Request for Information (RFI) was
issued in September to gather information and refine the State resources that
would be helpful. The RFI responses confirmed that the workforce housing
shortage constrains economic growth and job creation in many communities. The
RFI garnered thirty-seven responses, with 60% coming from local governments (22)
and 40% coming from developers/builders (10) and businesses/employers (7). The
majority originated from rural communities, but there were also several from
urban areas or communities that fall within the orbit of major metropolitan
areas. Respondents offered a number of compelling ideas for how
public-private partnerships could address the workforce housing shortage.
The Regional Solutions agencies identified tools to support workforce housing public private partnerships, including access to loans, grants, and targeted technical assistance. The information collected
in the RFI process informed the Request for Applications (RFA) that closed on January 25th. The Governor's Regional Solutions Cabinet selected five pilot projects with a focus on employer engagement, as well as the potential for scaling up and replication across the state. There was high demand for financial and technical assistance across the 31 applications received.
The pilot projects are still subject to successful negotiations and compliance with state and local processes. After compliance with the program requirements, the pilots will begin launching in the coming months.