Merkley Announces $58 Million In Housing Funds for State of Oregon

Portland, OR — Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley announced that Oregon would receive an additional $58 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to assist Oregonians who are struggling with the housing crisis gripping the state.  Today’s announcement adds to the $36 million that was announced two months ago by the Treasury Department.  Senator Merkley has been instrumental in advocating for additional funding to address the housing and foreclosure crisis that has rocked Oregon since the Great Recession and called on the Treasury Department to release this funding. 

“Our economy is doing better but too many Oregonians are still struggling to find a home or avoid foreclosure and this funding is a needed injection into our state,” said Merkley. “Homeownership is still the foundation of the American Dream and we need to get middle class families back to a place where they believe that dream is a reality.” 

The announcement today from the Treasury Department comes from their authority to obligate up to $2 billion in additional Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program. This additional investment in HHF will enable participating states to continue assisting struggling homeowners and stabilizing neighborhoods in many of the nation’s hardest hit communities. The announcement today completes the fifth round of HHF funding which included two phases of $1 billion each. 

The first phase allocated $1 billion using a formula based on state population and the state’s utilization of their HHF allocation to date. The second phase which was announced today utilized an application process open to all participating states. This phase allowed Treasury to focus additional resources on states that have significant ongoing foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization needs, a proven track record in utilizing funds, and successful program models to address those needs.  

Senator Merkley worked closely with the Oregon Housing and Community Services to administer the initial HHF and helped design the Loan Refinancing Assistance Pilot Program (LRAPP) that has used HHF in Oregon since 2012. This program has helped hundreds of Oregonians avoid foreclosure through an innovative strategy in which their home is purchased through a short sale and resold to them at its current value. This additional funding announced today will be used to ensure the LRAPP program continues, as well as targeting new programs aimed at helping Oregonians who are struggling to stay in their homes. 

The HHF was created in 2010 to provide $7.6 billion in targeted aid to 18 states and the District of Columbia deemed hardest hit by the economic and housing market downturn. The program was designed to leverage the expertise of state and local partners by funding locally-tailored foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization solutions.  

Senator Merkley recently completed a statewide affordable housing tour to talk with housing experts, local leaders and Oregonians who have been affected by rising rental prices, lack of available housing and skyrocketing housing prices. The funding announced today will help address the housing crisis that is occurring across Oregon.