State Sen. Betsy Johnson is optimistic about the latest efforts to make more affordable housing available in Oregon.

She is co-chairwoman of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development, which has been working on the issue.

The panel passed out legislation this week - House Bill 2436 - that Johnson said would provide aid to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

"Housing gives people an opportunity to build better lives. To succeed, you need a place to call home," said Johnson, D-Scappoose. "These resources will provide opportunities for us to confront the housing crisis from all angles - from preventing homelessness to counseling Oregonians facing foreclosure to expanding options for Oregon's low-income families."

The majority of funds in HB 2436 will go towards rental housing development targeting Oregon's low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. Additionally, 14 percent of funds will be directed towards home ownership and foreclosure prevention counseling and 10 percent of funds towards efforts to prevent and decrease homelessness.

"This bill will help organizations like ours bring safe, sanitary and affordable housing opportunities to hard working low income families throughout Oregon," said Jim Tierney, deputy director of the Community Action Team, serving Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook Counties.

HB 2436 is expected to generate $19.6 million for the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department in the 2009-2011 biennium through a $15 increase in the fee charged for recording documents affecting the title of real estate. The bill moves next to the full Joint Ways and Means Committee.


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