Oregon HUD Publishes New Database

Earned Income Tax Credit helps 190,000 working families in Oregon build assets and independence

While many programs that provide financial support receive significant public attention, one program that provides more than $100 Million in annual support in the Portland Metro area and more than $300 Million annually statewide has operated for several years well below the public radar screen.

As of 2001 more than 190,000 families in Oregon and nearly 75,000 families in Metro Portland have used the important tool to improve self sufficiency and help build financial assets.

That program is the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program. Designed primarily to help working families with children this program can provide a federal tax refund up to $4,000 for a working family with two or more children, even if that family has zero federal tax liabilities.

To increase public awareness of the use of this credit the Oregon Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published an online Excel database, showing where the credit has been used, including metropolitan area, county, city, and zip code for the years 1997-2001.

(The Oregon data was downloaded and compiled from an online database created by the Brookings Institution's Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy (www.brook.edu/es/urban/eitc.htm)

For several years a coalition of agencies and private groups that includes the IRS, HUD , the Oregon Center for Public Policy, the Oregon Food Bank, Worksystems Inc., The United Way of Columbia Willamette, New Economy and others have marketed the EITC to the communities they serve.

The HUD Oregon Office interest in the EITC stems from its interest in increasing minority homeownership and its substantial rental subsidy support for working families with children. Each year, the Oregon Office publishes notices to its local community development and public housing authority partners providing reminders that receipt of the EITC does NOT result in increases to tenant share of rental payments, and providing references to find additional information on the credit.

In addition to transmittal of these notices, HUD this year has actively encourage minority homeownership advocates to learn more about the EITC and to insure that counseling programs provide information on the EITC as part of their educational curriculum.

Content Archived: August 16, 2011