Oregon to receive ‘lifeline’ $60M for homeless initiatives

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon will receive over $60 million for 140 homelessness prevention and support initiatives across the state, lawmakers announced Tuesday.

The funding — from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care program — includes over $50 million for 111 renewal initiatives around Oregon, $2 million for 10 new initiatives in Clackamas, Lane, Marion, and Multnomah counties, and another $2 million for planning initiatives in Clackamas, Deschutes, Lane, Marion, Multnomah, and Washington counties.

Additionally, over $4 million will fund Youth Homeless Demonstration program initiatives to prevent and end youth homelessness for people 24 years old and younger, including unaccompanied youth, and pregnant or parenting youth who are homeless.

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“Safe and affordable housing is a critical component to cultivating strong and vibrant communities. But under the crushing weight of our affordable housing crisis, Oregonians across the state are struggling,” Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a statement. “These new and continuing awards are vital for communities and individuals in need of critical housing resources and support. I won’t stop working to ensure Oregonians in every corner of the state have access to safe, dependable, and affordable housing.”

Sen. Ron Wyden added that it will take a multipronged approach from federal, state, and local governments to ensure Oregonians have access to homeownership.

“In my 1,000+ Town Halls, I’ve heard from urban and rural communities alike that access to housing and workforce challenges are barriers to growth and vitality. Once folks secure stable and affordable housing, they are able to focus on other issues like finding steady employment. This HUD investment will turn deserving Oregonians’ dreams of home ownership into reality while enhancing livability in communities throughout the state,” Sen. Wyden said.

“So many of the problems we face stem from a lack of affordable housing. If we’re going to tackle the addiction crisis, mental health, economic mobility, we must address housing,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer furthered. “Today’s multi-million-dollar federal investment, coupled with Governor Kotek’s unrelenting focus on building more affordable homes, puts Oregon on the right track. This is the type of federal partnership that can make a real difference, just when we need it!”

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“Every day, we see too many people without shelter, who are cold and hungry and have no hope. At the same time, communities across Oregon don’t have the resources they need today to adequately fund services that help address homelessness. This $60 million in federal funds offers an important lifeline,” said Rep. Val Hoyle. “I am committed to doing all I can to bring back federal funds that invest in solutions and initiatives which help address this crisis and give people the chance to have a safe and secure home.”

Rep. Andrea Salinas acknowledged the work by advocates to solve homelessness. However, the representative said local governments and nonprofits are “severely” under-resourced and underfunded.

She added, “These dollars will go toward a continuum of care approach to ending homelessness, providing families with the support and services they need to find safe, permanent housing and ultimately, long-term stability.”

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