PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Multnomah County leaders met on Thursday to discuss how to spend taxpayer dollars on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed mass homeless shelters.
County commissioners were tasked with deciding whether to spend the $28 million now, or at a later time.
County Chair Deborah Kafoury is not in favor of the spending and said there is a greater need for rental assistance as hundreds of people are being evicted following the end of the eviction moratorium.
Some who testified before the commissioners also said they are not in favor of the money being spent on mass camps. Others testified that the county should invest some of the money in long-term housing solutions instead of more temporary shelters.
Additionally, some of the commissioners say they want more answers from the mayor about the plan before kickstarting the funding.
“Partnership requires working collaboratively to construct a plan, not a five-minute phone call to announce the plan that has been created. And partnership is most definitely not threats and ultimatums” Commissioner Susheela Jayapal said during the meeting.
In the end, the commissioners voted to spend $15 million, about half of the surplus, on emergency rent assistance to help people from becoming homeless. They also voted to put $1 million towards move-in assistance to help people with deposits move in quickly. However, the commissioners decided to save $12 million as they consider the mayor’s plan for mass camps.
Incoming chair commissioner, Jessica Vega Pederson, has been meeting with the mayor but wants more details before committing any county funds.