Wyden Co-Sponsors Legislation to Help Low-Income, Rural Tenants

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U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced he is co-sponsoring legislation that would help low-income and rural tenants of multifamily rural housing stay in their affordable housing units.

Direct federal home loans under what’s known as Section 515 help to develop affordable housing development in rural areas, but the required affordability restrictions are eliminated when those loans mature or are pre-paid. The Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019 would give housing vouchers to residents of units with expiring affordability restrictions so they can stay in those affordable homes, and it would provide incentives to stay in the Section 515 program by offering resources to repair and restore homes.

“I have heard consistently at town halls across Oregon how a must for quality of life is ensuring there’s enough affordable housing in every nook and cranny of our state,” Wyden said. “This bill helps to achieve that objective through vouchers that keep a roof over the heads of rural residents who rely on affordable housing.”

Oregon has 178 properties primarily financed by Section 515, funding 5,765 units for low-income Oregonians in rural areas. Another 175 properties are established under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Rental Assistance program, funding 4,464 units.

The bill was introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN).

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