Seven areas will split around $79.2 million. The most significant share, $18.2 million, will go to the Portland and Multnomah County region. On Monday, April 10, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek released details on how much money will be allocated to each of the seven areas she declared a homelessness state of emergency in when she took office in January.
Kotek has asked the Oregon legislature to enact a basic housing and homelessness package to pay for the order k!ll as soon as possible. Last month, the lawmakers did just that, allocating $85.2 million to municipal emergency preparations as part of a $200 bill package.
Gov. Kotek reveals funding totals for homelessness emergency zones in this video.
On Monday, April 10, Kotek revealed that the overall allocation would be about $79.2 million, considering some criteria such as legislative appropriation and community proposals.
According to a press statement from Kotek’s office, half of the remaining $6 million would be set aside by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Agency ” to ensure the goals of the emergency order are achieved,” according to a news release from Kotek’s office. The other half will be used for a statewide incentive program for landlords “participating in local rehousing efforts.”
Each of the seven zones that will get aid consists of many cities and counties working together. According to Kotek’s office, the region sought $98.8 million. However, the available funds only partially allowed them to meet their financial needs.
As part of the emergency order’s declared general aim of rehousing over 1,200 families throughout the state and providing over 600 additional shelter beds by the end of the year, the allocations also contain specific goals for rehousing and shelter beds.
According to Kotek’s office, the budget breaks out like this:
- To relocate 275 families and provide 138 new shelter beds in Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County would cost $18.2 million.
- Two hundred thirty new shelter beds and relocating 247 families cost $15.5 million in Eugene, Springfield, and Lane County.
- To relocate 161 families and provide 111 new shelter beds in Central Oregon would cost $13.9 million.
- To relocate 158 families and provide 79 more shelter beds in Salem and Marion and Polk Counties would cost $10,4 million.
- To relocate 133 families and provide 67 more shelter beds in the Medford, Ashland, and Jackson County areas would cost $8.8 million.
- $8.0 million to relocate 121 families and provide 61 new shelter beds in Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Washington County
- One hundred thirty families in Clackamas County will need $4.4 million to relocate.
The remaining $33.6 million will be disbursed statewide via existing programs to provide eviction protection to families in danger of becoming homeless. The bill allocates an additional $26 million to help with homelessness in areas that don’t meet the criteria for an emergency order.
To qualify for Kotek’s emergency order, a county’s unsheltered homeless population must have grown by at least 50% between 2017 and 2022. However, counties petitioning for access after failing to qualify must meet a different standard. That’s the path that Clatsop County traveled last month to join the list.
The Portland Region is Being Singled Out
Most of the money will go to Multnomah County, which includes Portland and Gresham. However, on Monday, Governor Kotek voiced reluctance to distribute this money, citing a lack of cooperation between the city and county and a lack of information on their plans for using this money.
“In the case of Multnomah County and the city of Portland, I’ll be honest, I was disappointed that they didn’t have more clarity,” Kotek said.
“I’ve sat through several meetings about existing capacity, who’s paying for what, where does the money come from, what’s the city committed to, what’s they county committed to… they need to get their stuff together…we need to see stronger collaboration and detail.”
This recommendation goes against what Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, announced last week during a news conference unveiling the new head of the Joint Office of Homeless Services.
“I can tell you that the relationship between the city and the county around homeless services is better than it has ever been,” Wheeler said.
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In an email to KGW on Monday afternoon, Wheeler’s staff responded to Kotek’s comments as follows:
“I agree with Governor Kotek that partnership and collaboration between city and county governments is critical to our mutual success. My team looks forward to reviewing both the submitted proposal and recent input from the Governor’s office. We will work in partnership with the Multnomah County-led Multi-Agency Coordinating (MAC) group on an updated revision.”
“Both the City and the County are each responsible for different parts of an overall solution, and we must show a clear strategy on how to best deliver those services with the allotted state emergency funding.”
“I am very pleased with the strengthened relationship with Governor Kotek and Chair Vega Pederson. We will continue to meet regularly to collaborate on the most significant issues facing our city and state.” KGW also received a reply from a spokeswoman for Multnomah County.
“Throughout this process, we’ve worked with the state to develop a responsive, smart plan for Portland, Gresham, and Multnomah County that aligns with the vision set forth in the Governor’s Emergency Orders.”
“With decision-making members from the County, the City of Portland, and the City of Gresham, as well as service providers and local stakeholders, we are building a model for a partnership that will carry us to the next stage of this work: delivering on what’s planned.”
“We look forward to meeting with the Governor, her team, and the leadership at OHCS and OEM to ensure that we have a plan and path forward that delivers on the urgency of this momentum, the unprecedented funding from the state, and our shared priorities.”
Noting that Clackamas County did not get funding for increased shelter capacity, the Governor referred to the county’s recent U-turn on a plan to buy a hotel for temporary lodging. Kotek released a statement last month criticizing the county’s decision to cancel the project.
“When a community says we can hit 50-60 more shelter beds but yet is unable to site the one that they have, it does undermine confidence that they can hit that,” Kotek said Monday.