Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has approved grant agreements to award funding to regions declared emergency areas in Governor Kotek’s homelessness state of emergency. The regions known as Continuum of Care (CoC) are areas or counties where unsheltered homelessness has increased by 50% or more since 2017.
The emergency areas are tasked to achieve Governor Kotek’s goals to reduce unsheltered homelessness by January 2024. The initiative will work to prevent 8,750 households from becoming homeless statewide, add at least 600 low-barrier shelter beds in emergency areas, and rehouse at least 1,200 unsheltered households in emergency areas.
“These goals set by our Governor are bold, but it is the urgent response needed to tackle a crisis that has been destabilizing our neighbors, families and friends for far too long,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “The work ahead will require the galvanization of every community—large and small—for us to achieve these shared goals. All people of Oregon are worth fighting for. To that end, we will be relentless through the lens of humanity in supporting our local partners in the pursuit for meaningful progress.”
Last month, Governor Kotek signed legislation passed by the Oregon Legislature to address the state’s housing and homelessness crisis, including $155 million the Governor proposed to reduce homelessness in all regions of the state. The funding will be used for homelessness prevention programs, more shelter capacity, rehousing services and more.
House Bill 5019 appropriated $85.2 million for local homelessness emergency plans. OHCS will reserve $3 million to ensure the goals of the emergency order are achieved. An additional $3 million will be used for a statewide landlord incentive, available to landlords participating in local rehousing efforts. In addition, the early funding package included $33.6 million to help prevent homelessness for an estimated 8,750 households. This funding will be distributed statewide through existing eviction prevention programs.
The requests from all regions within the emergency order totaled $98.8 million, so there were not enough funds to provide each region with its full funding request. OHCS in coordination with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) will be offering ongoing technical assistance to MAC groups as they implement their plans. Below is the breakdown of funding allocated to each Continuum of Care included in the emergency declaration, which totals $79.2 million.
- Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County: $18.2 million to rehouse 275 households and create 138 shelter beds
- Eugene/Springfield/Lane County: $15.5 million to rehouse 247 households and create 230 shelter beds
- Central Oregon: $13.9 million to rehouse 161 households and create 111 shelter beds
- Salem/Marion, Polk Counties: $10.4 million to rehouse 158 households and create 79 shelter beds
- Medford, Ashland/Jackson County: $8.8 million to rehouse 133 households and create 67 shelter beds
- Hillsboro/Beaverton/Washington County: $8.0 million to rehouse 121 households and create 61 shelter beds
- Clackamas County: $4.4 million to rehouse 130 households.
Recognizing that unsheltered homelessness impacts communities in every part of Oregon, the legislature also approved $26 million to address homelessness in the counties that did not meet the threshold of the emergency order when the Governor issued it on January 10, 2023. Counties not in the original declared emergency areas will receive funding in July to create new shelter beds and rehouse people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Source: State of Oregon