PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Following the passing of House Bill 4123 in 2022, Benton County officials have shared the key elements of their homelessness response plan.
The start of the five-year plan, which is set to be finalized this summer, was presented at a Benton County board meeting on Wednesday and includes plans to assure sustainable funding for homelessness response efforts and eliminate racial disparities within the county.
“We are so fortunate to have an active group of partners and community members,” said Coordinated Homeless Response Office Program Coordinator, Julie Arena. “Well before the enactment of HB 4123, the City of Corvallis and Benton County were building the foundation for coordinated homeless response as part of a ten-year plan to address homelessness. With this strong foundation, Benton County deployed state and federal investments as they became available starting in 2020 and applied for HB 4123 funding in 2022.”
The plan, officials said, is to incorporate policy recommendations by the HOPE advisory board as well as regional health assessment partners.
According to Benton County, these are five key elements of their plan:
- Sustainable funding for ongoing operations of the coordinated homelessness response system.
- Increasing or streamlining resources and services to people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
- Incorporating national best practices for ending homelessness.
- Eliminating racial disparities within the service area.
- Creating pathways to permanent and supportive housing that is affordable to local populations experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Using state, federal and local funds, Benton County officials said they have brought over $9 million in investments to fund food, shelter, eviction prevention, and capacity for community-based organizations.