Residents Organizing for Change (ROC) is a statewide network of residents of affordable housing, those in need of, and front-line staff of affordable housing providers that are committed to advocating for safe, stable, and affordable housing for all Oregonians.

In 2021, we adopted and advocated for our first legislative agenda:

2021 ROC Policy Agenda

  • Prevent and End Homelessness (HB 5011): Across Oregon, we have a statewide system to distribute emergency rent assistance, rapid re-housing resources, and emergency shelter support through the Emergency Housing Account (EHA) and the State Homelessness Assistance Program (SHAP). In 2021, the Legislature committed $40 million to these two programs (current service level), and $25 million in one-time funds for emergency shelter through HB 5011, the OHCS budget.
  • Right to Rest (HB 2367): Did not pass. The criminalization of homelessness harms our entire community: everyone deserves to be able to rest, to exist, and to be in public spaces. HB 2367 would ensure that all Oregonians have the right to exist in public space without the threat of harassment, citation, or arrest.
  • Protecting people experiencing homelessness from criminalization (HB 3115): This bill passed! People experiencing homelessness often are penalized for doing things many of us take for granted – sitting, sleeping, and keeping warm and dry. Enforcement of “quality of life” laws against people who have no alternative but to try to survive outside does nothing to help people get back into housing, and only creates more barriers.  The Legislature should require local jurisdictions to designate safe areas for camping.
  • Individualized Assessments (SB 291): This bill passed! People who rent their homes who have previous contact with the criminal justice system face additional barriers when trying to secure a new apartment. SB 291 would require individualized assessments by landlords, and would prohibit landlords from screening people out for an arrest with no conviction, or previous criminal history for situations that are no longer illegal in Oregon.
  • Supporting runaway and homeless youth (HB 2544): This bill passed! Oregon has one of the highest rates of youth homelessness, including youth in the K-12 system, youth exiting the foster care system, and unaccompanied youth. The Legislature should invest resources in expanding an existing host home network, which provides a home for unaccompanied homeless youth while they finish high school; and expand existing shelter, mental health, transitional housing, and other services for Runaway and Homeless Youth. The Legislature included $3.6 million and passed HB 2544.
  • Long Term Rent Assistance Pilot for Former Foster Youth (HB 2163): This bill passed, and included $4.5 million! Today, half of youth who experience homelessness become adults who are chronically homeless, meaning they have years of homelessness coupled with disabling conditions.  HB 2163 would create a long term rent assistance pilot program that would provide stability and support to youth as they transition from childhood to adulthood.
  • Long Term Rent Assistance Study Bill (HB 3184): Did not pass. In Oregon, three out of four households with extremely low incomes pay over half of their income towards rent. Households who experience a severe rent burden are at increased risk of homelessness. Long-term rent assistance is an effective strategy to prevent homelessness and provide an opportunity for affordable housing for people with low incomes around the state. In 2021, the Legislature should fund a cost analysis study to assess the cost of providing a long term rental assistance program to support Oregonians with low incomes.
  • Address Emergency Needs for Housing and Homelessness (HB 2006, HB 5042, HB 5006): This bill passed! Oregon doesn’t have enough shelter or affordable places to call home for everyone that needs one. Our state has one of the highest rates of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, meaning they are sleeping outside, in a tent, or a car. Our state must respond to the housing challenges our communities are facing by making serious investments in housing opportunity and safety.  HB 2006 removes barriers to siting shelters in our communities until July 1, 2022. HB 5042 and HB 5006 included funding for shelters and navigation centers for people experiencing homelessness across Oregon.
  • Preserve and Maintain existing affordable housing (HB 5006): Across Oregon, we need to maintain our supply of existing affordable housing, and reinvestment is needed to maintain safe, stable, and affordable homes. These funds are needed to help to maintain all regulated, multifamily affordable housing, as well as public housing and manufactured home parks. The Legislature committed $100 million in general fund dollars to meet needs to maintain existing affordable housing across Oregon!
  • Universal Rental Application (HB 2427): Did not pass. People who rent their homes face many barriers when trying to rent new apartment homes for themselves and their families. HB 2427 would create a universal rental application, and allow tenants to provide that application plus their own screening report and reduce costs when applying for a new apartment.