Oregon has a housing crisis, and in Central Oregon, we know this all too well. Our community has seen a drastic increase in housing prices, double-digit rent increases and low inventory. Investments in housing were a focal point for legislators during the 2023 session, which recently concluded in Salem. Closer to home, progress is also being made as both the City of Bend and Deschutes County have invested in programs to spur production of workforce housing.
Earlier this summer, the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners approved $1 million from the general fund to create a Workforce Housing Trust Fund. The fund will provide a $30,000 developer credit for newly constructed homes in the 80–120% area median income (AMI) range. The program will be administered by Neighbor Impact and homes will remain deed-restricted for 30 years to maintain affordability. Homebuyers must be employed within Deschutes County to be eligible to purchase a home. The program will be online later this summer for interested applicants.
The City of Bend recently launched a Middle-Income Housing Pilot Program. The demonstration program creates a $500,000 grant opportunity for middle-income housing developers to help offset building costs. An informational workshop was held earlier this summer to identify barriers to making market-rate housing projects pencil for middle-income buyers (80–120% AMI). The pilot program focuses on two key barriers: infrastructure funding and gap financing, and projects will be evaluated on scalability, innovation, and middle-income pricing. The deadline for application is August 16, 2023, and more information can be found online.