On Monday(April 10, 2023), Oregon Governor Tina Kotek (D) unveiled a proposal to devote almost $200 million to combat homelessness throughout the state as she pushed forward new laws dealing with the problem.
Jackson County will get nearly $9 million as part of the plan, which will be used to establish 67 additional shelter beds and rehouse 133 families. Rogue Retreat, helping homeless individuals like Larry Jackson (without a home for 14 years) by offering a secure place to stay and access services, will utilize the money to build new apartments.
“More mental health support and more housing,” Jackson said. “Rogue Retreat’s alright. They’re helping us out. They give us a safe place to stay and resources.”
The Governor’s proposal also includes money for homeless prevention programs that assist folks in making ends meet so they don’t have to sleep in their cars. Jackson presents a single proposal for where the funds should be allocated.
“Housing. More and larger camps like Rogue Retreat minus the tents. Just the little huts,” Jackson said. More than 1,200 families will be rehoused, and over 600 extra shelter beds will be made available in emergency regions, thanks to the total financing, which is connected to particular targets by the end of the year.
While county commissioners in Josephine County could have declared a homelessness emergency and therefore qualified for federal funds, they chose not to do so. On Monday, Kotek discussed what those counties might do to get more funding.
“The resources are there, and what we need to see is the communities come together. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the county government, but it could be local communities deciding to apply for that money. We want to make sure if there are good plans, they will get funded,” she said.
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County-level allocations are calculated using a complex formula developed by Oregon Housing and Community Services, which considers legislative appropriations, filed community plans, and other criteria.
More shelter beds and rehousing funds will be available in July for counties beyond the initial emergency zones. Our strategy will go a long way toward ending homelessness in Oregon and making secure housing available to all residents.
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