▶️ Central Oregon homeless advocates make good use of emergency relief funds

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Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek sent $14 million to Central Oregon last year to address the homeless crisis. She attached a deadline of Wednesday, January 10, for the money to be spent.

Did the money from the state benefit locals at risk of losing their homes? Did the number of shelter beds increase?

“We were able to prevent 366 households from dropping into homelessness. We were able to rehouse 193 households. We expanded our shelter bed capacity by 114 beds across the region,” said Tamey Baney, of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.

RELATED: Kotek touts achievements in battling homelessness after one year in office

Baney said the Homeless Leadership Coalition exceeded benchmarks for use of the money by saving more families from homelessness beyond the regional requirements. The coalition also exceeded expectations for increasing shelter bed capacity and rapidly rehousing more households than required.

“We were able to support partners such as Shepherd’s House. Bethlehem Inn will be bringing on the Project Turnkey project under what’s now called Birch. That will be for long-term housing,” Baney said. We were able to support Madras with their first year-round shelter. We were able to support the Redemption House in Crook County. We are able to support so many great non profits that are doing great work every day.”

The successful use of executive order emergency funds pleased Kotek. 

“We made meaningful progress for more Oregonians who are at risk of losing their housing or are already sleeping outside and are ready to move into shelter starting on their way to stable housing,” Kotek said Wednesday.

All but $19,000 dollars of the governor’s original $14.7 million dedicated to homeless projects in central Oregon has been spent or obligated.

“Our ervice providers are ready. They are primed for this. They needed the funding. They knew what to do. This region is really knowledgeable and talented and they work well together,” Baney said.

Central Oregon’s effective use of the emergency homeless funds is being hailed as innovative and successful. 

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