Governor Allocates Funding to Tackle Homelessness in Rural Oregon

In response to the ongoing homelessness crisis plaguing both urban and rural communities in Oregon, Governor Tina Kotek has taken significant steps to address the issue. Yesterday, she announced the allocation of funding to select rural counties within Oregon’s Balance of State Continuum of Care as part of her declared state of emergency on homelessness. These funds, derived from House Bill 5019, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Kotek, are aimed at rehousing individuals experiencing homelessness and expanding shelter capacity in the 26 rural counties that make up the Balance of State Continuum of Care.

The bill encompasses various allocations, with a substantial portion of $26.1 million designated specifically for rural counties. The primary objectives of this funding are to create at least 100 new shelter beds and rehouse a minimum of 450 households by June 30, 2025.

Governor Kotek emphasized the severity of the homelessness crisis and the urgent need for action, saying, “Homelessness is a crisis in both urban and rural communities throughout Oregon. In many conversations during my 36-county listening tour, Oregonians have repeatedly emphasized the need for more shelter capacity and rehousing services in their communities. This funding, tied to specific outcomes, will make a measurable impact in addressing this crisis in rural Oregon. And we can’t stop here – I will keep pushing for concrete solutions that will support community needs going forward.”

The allocation of funds to individual counties is based on various factors, including the appropriation available from the Legislature, detailed community plans, and a distribution formula developed by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department. Here are some of the key fundings in our region:

  • Josephine County: $2 million to add at least 16 shelter beds and rehouse at least 31 households
  • Klamath and Lake counties: $1.4 million to rehouse at least 38 households
  • Douglas County: $1.4 million to rehouse at least 34 households
  • Coos County: $1.9 million to add at least 8 shelter beds and rehouse at least 32 households.

In total, 16 Local Planning Groups have been established with designated leads to coordinate and execute plans aimed at achieving the outlined outcomes. These groups consist of experts from local governments, non-profits, and individuals with lived experiences of homelessness. Their responsibility is to efficiently implement the allocated funds to assist individuals and families in achieving housing stability.

The scale of the issue is evident as Local Planning Groups submitted 29 shelter projects for consideration, with a total request exceeding $37 million. This demonstrates the urgency and need for such funding and initiatives to combat homelessness in rural Oregon.

Jackson County was not a part of this round of funding as the state classifies the county as “Urban” and this funding was dedicated to “Rural” counties. Previously, Jackson County was awarded $8.8 million in funding to be used for homeless programs.

Source: State of Oregon

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