SB 603 VOTE: NO
Official Bill Description:
Establishes People’s Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program, administered by Department of Human Services, to provide 12 monthly payments of $1,000 to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of homelessness, are severely rent burdened or earn at or below 60 percent of area median income.
Elected Republican Response as reported in the media:
Republican senators have slammed the bill on the senate floor. Many opposed to it equate the no-strings attached payments to handouts and fear that, with no restrictions, the money could be used to buy drugs or alcohol.
Others say taxpayer money should be used in more direct ways to address Oregon’s housing crisis. On the Senate floor this week, Sen. Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City) called the bill a Band-Aid.
“The bill is certainly well intended, but I believe it will only exacerbate an issue that can be addressed through other means,” said Anderson. “We need to stay focused on the production of housing units.”
There are much more cost effective ways to address homelessness in Oregon. The current definition of homelessness also includes people who are living with relatives and those who, by choice, lack a permanent home such as full-time RV’ers who have income. As Sen. Anderson told the Oregonian, “We need to stay focused on the production of housing units.” Oregon has stifling regulations which, if adjusted, would dramatically reduce cost of housing without costing taxpayers a cent. Such market solutions should be tried before taking such an expensive action. Finally, if this bill were to move forward because this is Oregon after all, it should have strict requirements that recipients are and remain clean and sober of all illicit substances as well as alcohol and tobacco given their expense which taxpayers should not be subsidizing. Random and frequent testing would be critical.
Link to bill on Oregon OLIS: