On Tuesday, February 9, Oregon Food Bank Network staff and volunteers were in Salem advocating to leadership for an additional $10 million total for Emergency Housing Account ($8 million) and State Homeless Assistance Program ($2 million).
Oregon is in a housing crisis. Homes and rents are unaffordable for too many Oregonians, and many more are forced to make tough decisions between having enough food on the table or paying their ever-increasing rent. As a result, tens of thousands of Oregonians experienced homelessness last year – 20,000 of whom were school-aged kids.
Success in life starts with a reliable place to call home. The Emergency Housing Account and the State Homeless Assistance Program help make this possible for some families. Funds go directly to community action agencies or a comparable entity in each county.
Emergency Housing Account provides funds to supplement effective local programs and/or to establish new programs designed to prevent and reduce homelessness. Funds can support:
• Homelessness prevention and short term rent assistance
• Rapid re-housing (help with applications, deposits, etc.)
• Emergency shelter
• Transitional housing
• Supportive in-home services
• Data collection
• Can be used flexibly to fill gaps to supplement existing funds or create new programs
State Homeless Assistance Program provides state funds to help meet the emergency needs of homeless Oregonians by providing operational support for emergency shelters and the supportive services directly related to them. It helps community response networks fill the gaps in their systems, and meet the needs that agencies, faith-based networks, and others cannot. Funds can support:
• Emergency shelter operations
• Shelter resident support services
• Data collection
Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program were cut several times during the Great Recession despite high poverty. It is currently funded at $9.75 million for the 2015-17 biennium, far short of the $20 million needed.