PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A bipartisan step in addressing the homeless crisis as lawmakers approve hundreds of millions of dollars in Salem.
The affordable housing and homelessness package still needs senate approval but is already getting praise from local leaders.
The two biggest chunks of money are going to homelessness prevention — which means a lot of rent assistance and also creating added shelter capacity.
Here’s the proposal:
- $33 million+ for prevention efforts
- $84 million for increasing shelter capacity
- rapid rehousing, which oftentimes means rental assistance or transitional housing for people who are homeless
An additional $17.5 million will support shelters for homeless youth, provide rent assistance and fund the state’s emergency housing account to help school-age kids.
Representative Pam Marsh from Ashland shared with KOIN 6 that the groundwork is laid out in the legislation, but there are other issues that need to be figured out.
“I think you saw on the package and emphasis on the immediate intervention, a little bit of development of permanent housing in the package,” said Marsh. “But now I think that’s the work that’s really in front of the legislature is how do we get housing out there on the ground?”
That sentiment was shared by other representatives including Jeff Helfrich from Hood River, who said that more needs to be figured out about the process and where exactly new homes will be built.
“We get this past now there’s more work to do,” said Helfrich “And that more work to do is talking about the regulatory red tape that we needed to figure out how we can streamline and then talk about the land use where we’re able to build houses and bring in some urban growth reserves from the urban growth boundary.”
But what does that mean for local communities? Portland mayor ted wheeler told KOIN 6 that this legislation is “a critical step in providing more affordable housing for Portland and other cities across the state”
Wheeler went on to say that affordable housing is typically funded by the state and continues to say “we need everyone at all levels of government working together to provide help to our most vulnerable populations.”
Helfrich said he’s hopeful that addressing the regulations around housing development will be on the table and that house speaker Dan Rayfield has promised to address those things.