Policy Tools for Affordable Housing Development in Oregon: Analysis and Recommendations
Parker, Richard Wallace
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Parker, Richard Wallace
The original goal of this paper’s research was to analyze and explore the intersection of affordable housing policy and nonprofit developers. Throughout the course of my research, it became increasingly clear that such an intersection may not exist in a meaningful way, and perhaps more importantly, does not possess unique characteristics that differentiate it from other areas of the affordable housing discussion. Thus, the focus of research moved from nonprofit developers and relevant policies, to policies relevant to all developers of affordable housing—in many ways a widening of the research question rather than the intended narrowing. Months later, a clearer picture has presented itself about the relationship between government regulations and affordable housing developers, and the various characteristics that define segments of the discussion. By the end of my research, it is clear that I focused in particular on organizations that target families that make between 50% and 80% of Area Median Income. It is the intention of this final paper to first explain the methodology and process through which these findings and conclusions were reached, summarize the current policy landscape of affordable housing development in Oregon, and finally submit my personal recommendations for improving that regulatory environment. The overall finding of this paper is that there exist a number of outcomes that can reasonably be considered a social benefit and that different sets of policies reasonably pursue each. However, certain priorities have been addressed in ways that are notably unsuccessful, and the final proposals of this paper specifically seek to combat this. In particular, it is my belief and conclusion that if as a society we value mixed-income developments and communities that are socio-economically diverse, then the current policy climate is fundamentally failing to aid that pursuit. This paper works under the assumption that mixed-income communities are communities in which there are both market-rate units as well as subsidized units for families below 80% of Area Median Income. My hope is that the following pages add to the existing literature by focusing on Oregon and holding current policies to a standard set both by academic research and the lived experiences of those in the arena.