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Co-location of affordable housing and early childhood services

About the program 

In 2021, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) partnered with the Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) to develop the program framework for an incentive program to support financing for early childcare and education services that are co-located with affordable housing developments. The model of combining early care and education facilities with affordable housing locations is called co-location. As part of House Bill 5011, $10 million has been set aside to provide housing development projects to maintain, improve or build co-located early child care and education facilities.

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Co-location example in Portland OR.jpg

Background: Statewide challenges 

Both OHCS and ELD have documented challenges across the state with access to affordable and high-quality housing and early childhood services. In the next 20 years, the State of Oregon will need to build nearly 600,000 housing units to meet demand. Prior to the Co-Location legislation, OHCS hosted a forum with child care and housing providers highlighting co-location strategies as a priority. Additionally, a report from Oregon State University indicated that as of March 2020, all 36 counties in Oregon qualify as child care “deserts" for infants and toddlers — meaning that there are at least three children under the age of 2 for every available child care slot in the county. The Low-Income Investment Fund (LIIF) completed a study on opportunities, considerations, partnerships, financing options, and funding sources as required by legislation. The study was used to design the program framework and to issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a subsidy program to incentivize co-location activities across Oregon.  

LIIF completed extensive partner engagement with over 60 organizations, including: 

  • Early learning providers 
  • Private and nonprofit developers 
  • Housing authorities 
  • Community development corporations 
  • Philanthropic organizations 
  • Continuum of care organizations 
  • Tribal nations  
  • Other state agencies  

The study shows families face challenges of affording housing, child care and early childhood education at the same time. Those on the margins, many of whom from Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities, have been particularly impacted by the decrease in supply and affordability of both housing and early childhood services. Read the study to learn more about co-locating early care and education facilities with affordable housing developments.  

Next steps in 2023

February 2023
The Co-location RFP has been released based on the developed framework to be approved for an initial investment into the program. The Request for Proposal is for contracting with a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to administer the program. After the contracted CDFI has established the program, they will be working with developers to incentivize co-location of affordable housing with early child care and education facilities. Learn more about the Co-Location RFP. 

July 2023
OHCS has entered into a grant agreement with Craft3 and three other Community Development Financial Institutions - Low Income Investment Fund, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon and Network for Oregon Affordable Housing - to leverage existing best practices and develop and test new models to address the complex challenge of supporting both early child care and education (ECE) and affordable housing. This partnership, known as Build Up Oregon, is partially supported by a $10 million investment, allocated by House Bill 5011, and it will support co-locating ECE facilities and affordable housing. Build Up Oregon initially aims to create or preserve 600 ECE slots by supporting co-location with affordable housing developments. Increased ECE slots will help low-income families access early education, provide economic development opportunities, and strengthen communities. Build Up Oregon will spend the next 6 to 9 months to set up the program before providing technical support and grants/loans. Learn more about Build Up Oregon.