Our public policy team works to advance policies to end homelessness, improve health care access, increase economic justice, correct racial disparities and achieve greater alignment of the support systems our clients rely on. The 2022 Oregon legislative session has begun, and Central City Concern has identified our top legislative priorities.
Central City Concern (CCC) believes an effective response to ending homelessness, particularly long-term/ chronic homelessness, must prioritize systems alignment and restorative anti-racist practices. We must commit to equity-focused and data-driven investments. We need a system that intentionally connects access to housing, behavioral health and health care, economic resiliency, and social connectedness. This work requires investment in a knowledgeable and skilled workforce to deliver effective and high-quality services. CCC has over 40 years of experience with integration and innovation to improve outcomes for people most impacted by homelessness and poverty.
CCC is supporting the following legislation:
We do not have enough affordable housing for all the people experiencing homelessness. To increase housing access, housing stability and to prevent more experiences of homelessness, we are supporting two key proposed investments:
- $339.5M in the Governor’s budget to build and preserve affordable housing.
- $100M in the Housing Stability and Homeless Prevention Package for eviction prevention and rapid rehousing. Read more in this letter signed by over 30 organizations.
SB 1518 – Energy Efficient Building Standards
- Establishes Task Force on Resilient Efficient Buildings to identify and evaluate policies related to building codes and building decarbonization for new and existing buildings that would enable state to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
- Requires task force to make policy recommendations for 2023 Legislative Assembly.
Criminal and Legal System
SB 1510 – Transformative Justice
- Reduces unnecessary stops by law enforcement for Oregonians of color.
- Mandates that officers inform Oregonians of their right to decline a search, as well as written/verbal consent to search.
- Adds new training requirements.
- Increases funding for restorative justice and community-based organizations focused on crime prevention.
HB 4004 – Behavioral Health Workforce Investment
- Creates a grant program for Oregon’s providers, permitting them to raise wages to competitive levels designed to support the retention and recruitment of staff in the current labor market. Nearly all providers are facing unprecedented labor shortages.
See CCC testimony on this bill here.
HB 4083 – Medical Billing Code Updates
- Requires health insurance policies, Oregon Health Plan and others to provide reimbursement for at least three primary care or behavioral health visits annually, in addition to one preventative primary care visit, without cost sharing.
- Allows patient visits to focus on integrated care, which means patients can access different kinds of care (for example, primary care and behavioral health) in the same visit.
- Eliminates the prior authorization required for a behavioral health visit.
HB 4088 – SNAP Restaurant Meals Program
- Establishes a workgroup to launch a SNAP restaurant meals program, which will help people experiencing homelessness access food.
This five-week short legislative session is moving quickly, and one of the bills CCC was following have already expired because they did not get a vote in time to stay active. This bill may still get a hearing this session and we look forward to supporting this work in a future legislative session.
HB 4147 – Restoration of Voting
- Restores voting rights to Oregonians who are convicted of a felony, allowing them to register to vote, update voter registration and vote in elections while incarcerated.
CCC also joined the call to action with our partners at the Health Justice Recovery Alliance. Over 1,000 individual constituents wrote to their state leaders demanding they protect the funding and integrity of Measure 110 implementation. Thanks to the advocates at CCC and around the state we were able to ensure there are no cuts to Measure 110 funding for recovery services.
Our public policy team works year-round to advance policies to end homelessness, improve health care access, increase economic justice, correct racial disparities and achieve greater alignment of the support systems our clients rely on.