$20M Awarded For Affordable Housing by Oregon Housing And Community Services
Housing production in Oregon has received a boost with $20m in funding announced by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). Part of the funding intended in the Housing Bill 2001 passed by the legislature in 2023, the Oregon State Legislature indicated in a press release that the bill requires immediate action to address the housing crisis and also to plan for future housing production.
The OHCS funding is being allocated in tranches of $5 million, and Southern Oregon has been designated two awards. InteliFab LLC in Klamath Falls and Pacific Wall Systems in Phoenix were chosen from 17 applicants.
Representative Pam Marsh proposed as far back as February last year that $20 million of the emergency fund be allocated, with the vague hope that this would come to Southern Oregon. She is thrilled that things did turn out as she hoped. She said, “Well, I think it’s a big win.”
Modular Housing Could Help Solve The Housing Crisis
The grant funding is huge for Oregon, but Marsh confirmed that something completely different would have to be done to advance housing production on the ground. She believes that factory-built houses- so-called modular housing, could be part of the solution to the housing crisis.
InteliFab LLC published a statement on its website confirming that they have built an automated factory that assembles modular and prefabricated buildings and building components. These units could help address the increasing shortage of site-built artisans by using pre-built solutions, and they also deliver factory-level speed, quality, and efficiency to housing construction.
Owner and vice president of Pacific Wall Systems, Alex Knecht, says Pacific can make a significant contribution to solving the housing crisis. They have identified a need for their particular type of component manufacturing, especially as it speeds up the job site and reduces the cost. A little money can go a long way when disbursed on factory-built housing units.
Oregon originally investigated modular homes with the Royal Oaks project according to Pam Marsh. She indicated that they learned a lot from that project and she feels that Oregon needs a local modular housing industry. They ordered modular units for the Royal Oaks Park project from out of state, and- because they had no control over quality, the units were not acceptable. She said, “We don’t ever want to see that experience again.”
Marsh also confirmed that there is an agreement in place with the two companies that covers the next 10 years, providing that if the state runs into a disaster that leaves them needing housing, Oregon’s projects will be prioritized. Having Oregon’s own industry and building codes, with the state’s eyes on it, will facilitate high-quality spaces for people to live in over the long term. In addition, Oregon wants to ensure that they create an environment that supports the success of the modular industry.
Marsh confirmed that funding remains important, but the state is also looking upstream at how they can develop housing. She says that they have realized that not every house has to be built with a hammer and nails.