Rep. Bonamici Introduces Bill to Expand Oregon’s Project Turnkey Program Nationally

Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the “Project Turnkey Act” (H.R.8297) in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 9. Modeled on Oregon’s successful Project Turnkey program, the bill would provide flexible housing assistance to convert unused buildings into affordable housing and emergency shelters. The bill would also enhance services for people experiencing homelessness and expand homeownership opportunities for underserved households.

Oregon launched Project Turnkey in November 2020, leveraging federal investments from the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020” to convert unused buildings into non-congregate emergency shelter and long-term permanent supportive housing. Project Turnkey housing is created, operated, and owned by local governments, tribes, or nonprofit community partners, ensuring the units are designed to meet the unique needs of the community. 

Rep. Bonamici’s bill would create a federal Project Turnkey Program at HUD providing $1 billion annually for the conversion of unused buildings into emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing. It would also provide direct support for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness through rental, security deposit, and utility bill assistance. The bill proposes funding for downpayment assistance and housing counseling to help underserved households purchase a home.

“During the pandemic, Congress acted with urgency to provide historic and unprecedented resources to address the health and housing needs of America’s lowest-income and most marginalized households, including people experiencing homelessness. With these investments, Congress saved lives and prevented a wave of evictions and an increase in homelessness,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC in a press release addressing the bill. “Congress must build on the tremendous successes and lessons learned from the pandemic to build a stronger housing safety net by enacting Rep. Bonamici’s ‘Project Turnkey Act’ and other critical legislation.”

Learn more about the “Project Turnkey Act.”

Learn more about Oregon’s Project Homekey.