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Oregon Governor Kate Brown is set to sign a bill recently passed by the state legislature that will provide an important tool for low-income families to maintain housing stability as they increase their incomes and move toward self-sufficiency.
House Bill 3082, sponsored by Representative Lew Frederick, was overwhelmingly approved by the Oregon State House of Representatives on April 2, 2015. Senator Chip Shields sponsored the bill in the Oregon State Senate, where it passed easily on May 12. The bill, which will now go to Governor Kate Brown to sign into law, eases the “benefits cliff” faced by families as their incomes grow beyond 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), the maximum threshold to qualify for affordable housing property tax exemptions (approximately $44,000 for a family of four).
Under Oregon’s existing laws, when a family earns even one dollar over the 60% AMI limit, they are at risk of losing their affordable rental housing. While PCRI works with residents to allow them to maintain their affordable housing as their income grows, HB 3082 would allow government to extend the threshold for exemptions to 80% AMI (about $58,000 for a family of four) for existing residents. New renters would still need to earn less than 60% AMI at move-in, but would also be able to benefit form the flexible threshold which allows for increases in income over time.
The bill was supported by Oregon Opportunity Network and local leaders, including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury.
“Families who are working to improve their lives shouldn’t be penalized just as they begin to achieve better futures for their children,” Deborah Kafoury stated in recent letter as the bill was presented to the House of Representatives’ Human Services and Housing Committee. “I believe that HB 3082 balances our efforts to provide affordable housing to those most in need with our investments in families who are working to attain self-sufficiency.”
The so-called “benefits cliff” refers to the sharp drop-off in benefits low-income families face as their income reaches a pre-determined threshold, such as the 60% AMI limit. Easing the “cliff” provides organizations like PCRI additional tools to help residents achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.
PCRI’s Fourth Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was the most successful gala yet! Not only did the dancers deliver an amazing show, the event’s sponsors, volunteers and guests raised over $85,000 to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. Click on any of the photos to view Cameron Browne’s gala photos, or find additional links at the bottom of the page.
Following a packed reception, Judge Adrienne Nelson and her husband Ted Poole were guilty of a stunning performance as they opened the event with their crowd-pleasing dance. And Mistress of Ceremonies Margaret Carter delivered a seamless program for the evening with even more energy and glamour than she brought as MC for PCRI’s premiere gala.
The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, also had more energy—especially judging by the volume of cheering from the audience! Trained by and paired with professional dancers from Portland’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, each dancing couple put on a spectacular show.
In the end, only one dance couple could be named champion and while Judges Jesse Beason, Karin Edwards and Nancy Hales had a tough decision, they unanimously named Pamela Weatherspoon this year’s winner.
But the evening wasn’t just about a dance competition. Margaret Carter and PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick celebrated the successes achieved by PCRI residents while underscoring the work that is still needed to ensure all families have access to the benefits of stable, affordable housing in Portland’s opportunity-rich close-in neighborhoods. Led by auctioneer Kelly Russell, the gala’s live auction and special appeal were the most successful yet.
And, most notably, resident Jean Paul and his family described how, with the benefit of affordable housing and their own dedication, families can grow roots, dream big, and achieve amazing goals.
We extend a giant thank you to all our sponsors, contributors and guests as well as the fantastic volunteers who made the evening such an amazing success. Be sure to look through all the pictures from photographers Antonio Harris and Cameron Browne, as well as those on the Gala Website and PCRI’s Facebook page! If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join our mailing list to get news and invitations for next year’s gala.
PCRI is excited to endorse a new coalition dedicated to ensuring ongoing resources for housing and homeless services in our community – the Welcome Home Coalition.
Welcome Home is building a region-wide coalition to lead a grassroots movement in support of affordable housing opportunities, and PCRI is proud to be a part of the coalition. Welcome Home—and PCRI—believe in a community that invests in safe, stable, and affordable homes for everyone.
Here’s how you can support and stay engaged with the critical work of Welcome Home:
As Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer for Pacific Continental Bank, Kathy brings her deep background in financial analysis and expertise in loan portfolio management to the bank’s client service team. With over 25 years of banking experience, she helps her clients find the right solution to meet their credit needs. Kathy’s banking background includes positions with US Bank, First Interstate Bank and Chicago’s Continental Bank. She honed her business management skills on the client-side as area business manager for Mentor Graphics’ Americas Region. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School, and a BA in Political Science-International Relations from Carleton College.
In addition to her service on PCRI’s Board, Kathy is active in the Portland community, currently serving as trustee of the Parish Trust Fund of the Archdiocese of Portland, as a Finance Committee member of Catholic Charities, and on fund raising committees for Impact NW. She has been a route coordinator and driver for Meals on Wheels. She has participated for a decade with the Oregon Business Association and currently chairs the Education Committee and is a member of the Business Development Committee. She also teaches classes to bankers on structuring loans, evaluating risk, and working through problem loans.
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc.
6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97211
Tel: (503) 288-2923 Fax: (503) 288-2891
PCRI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization providing affordable rental housing to low-income families, primarily in North and Northeast Portland. Since 1992, PCRI's vision has been to provide affordable housing and associated services that achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and wealth creation.