PDX, Mult. Co. pledge $30M for ‘housing emergency’


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — 30 million dollars is on its way to help respond to what Portland Mayor Charlie Hales described as a housing emergency.

Multnomah County and the City of Portland will come up with the money to help with some immediate needs and there are also bigger plans for the future. Mayor Hales acknowledges homeless problems won’t be solved overnight, but declared it as the season to focus on homelessness and affordable housing.

“For too long I think we’ve stayed rooted in a realization that these problems can’t be solved overnight and some of them can’t be. But I want us to recognize that there are some things that we can move quickly on,” Mayor Hales said.

Hales says increases in shelter capacity for homeless veterans, women and people with mental illness are priorities and the money is intended to reduce the number of people living in the streets by half.

“And the lack of affordable vacancies has made finding housing almost an insurmountable challenge for a growing number of families,” Hales says.

Wednesday’s commitment involves building more affordable housing.

Hales says the city’s portion of the money will come from a plentiful general fund, a possible home demolition tax and using more urban renewal funds.

“We’re not rolling in money — we don’t have 30 million dollars in a desk drawer. But what we do have is the ability to reprogram some of the money in our general fund now that its healthy,” Hales says.

Both city and county leaders hope the taxpayer money they are about to spend will help alleviate housing problems.

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