A $200 million funding package focused on creating housing and resources for the unhoused passed through the state senate Tuesday night. Now it will go to Governor Tina Kotek’s desk to be signed.
“This package is going to be very helpful in the near term for people who are at risk of becoming homeless and it will be helpful in the long term as the dollars result in new indoor shelter beds created,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang.
The tri-county area is expecting $14 million to address housing needs here.
“Since the bulk of the population of the tri-county region is in Deschutes County, most of that $14 million will come here,” said Chang.
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The main goals of the money are to increase shelter capacity, rental assistance and ramp up housing production.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend, tells us one of the main reasons he voted “yes.”
“Homeless youth has been a big issue that I’ve wanted to try to help on and so there’s a significant portion of funding in there for homeless youth,” said Knopp.
“The package didn’t have everything in it that it needed, but more importantly we need a housing package this session,” he added.
“This is a down payment on the work that we are going to do in the session, and it’s early in the session and that’s why I am so proud we had both sides of the aisle coming together to work on this and I absolutely agree that we have to build more affordable housing,” said Rep. Emerson Levy, D-Bend, a sponsor of the bill.
While Commissioner Chang said he is grateful for this state support, he does have worries.
“I am concerned that we will continue to need things like managed camps and outdoor shelter and safe parking and this program, this package, does not address those outdoor shelters,” said Chang.
The funds will be delivered to a regional coordination group made up of local governments, nonprofits and other organizations. It will then be used to support projects across the tri-county area.