$60 Million Grants To Oregon NPOs and Local Government For Housing Support And Social Services

Chronically homeless people will benefit from $60 million in funding from the Biden administration partly earmarked to house those in need. This is part of the $3 billion announced this week by the administration intended for programs nationwide to fight homelessness as part of the 2003 Continuum of Care grants.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, Marcia Fudge released a press statement confirming that they are doing everything possible to get people off the street and living in a permanent home, and also ensure they have access to services. To do this, they ensure the service providers on the frontlines of the homeless crisis have the resources they need.

Including over $60 million that will be going to Oregon NPOs and other entities, the grants are to support programs that house young people and others from Portland, Ashland, and Medford, to Jefferson, Crook, and Deschutes counties. Ranging from $10,000 to over $8 million, 140  applicants won grants. Over $50 million is set aside to keep current programs going, and over $4 million is earmarked for young people to get them housed. New initiatives in Clackamas, Multnomah, Marion, and Lane counties are allocated over $2 million, and a similar amount is available for planning initiatives.

A big share of the money is going to NPOs and local government programs in Portland and many of the biggest recipients will provide housing at a rental of 30% of the beneficiaries’ adjusted gross income. This means that if there is no income, the beneficiary will pay nothing.

The public housing authority for Multnomah County, Home Forward, won the biggest share of the grant- almost $8.4 million. This will fund several ongoing programs currently serving almost 500 households, supporting them with rent and social services. A spokesperson for Home Forward- Martha Calhoon indicated in a statement that they are grateful to HUD, as their aid allows the organization to maintain current service levels and keep up with rent increases for the households relying on their help.

Home Forward assists a range of low-income people, including those who have been chronically homeless, people with chronic addictions, HIV-positive people with a mental disability, veterans who have been homeless, households where at least one person has a disability, and where the head of the household suffers from severe and persistent mental illness. Most of their beneficiaries are on Medicaid.

12 agencies provide housing, mental health, addiction treatment, and other social services, including Portland’s Central City Concern,  Multnomah County, Veterans Affairs, and Cascadia Health, one of the biggest behavioral health care agencies in Oregon. Central City Concern won $3.4 million, the second biggest grant, and its spokesperson- Juliana Lukasik, confirmed that it will be dedicated to a program providing long-term housing stability for people with high needs, including those with severe and persistent mental illness and addictions, as well as the chronically homeless.

The program served about 185 people in 2023, including almost 160 chronically homeless people. Around 60% of their beneficiaries retained housing for more than five years and 95% stayed housed for more more a year. They also work with other agencies, including the Native American Rehabilitation Association, to deliver health care and other services. This program engages people who have experienced homelessness themselves to help those in the program as peers.

Almost $3 million- the 3rd largest grant, has gone to the Washington County Department of Housing Services. Emily Roots- for the department, indicated this money will be used to help house around 200 households. Participants must have a disability and be chronically homeless at the time of acceptance into the program to qualify. Their beneficiaries are housed in apartments and are offered services that include aging and disability services, behavioral health treatment, general case management, and  HIV/AIDS services.

In a joint statement, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Republicans Andrea Salinas, Earl Blumenauer, Val Hoyle, and Suzanne Bonamici- Oregon’s lawmakers in Congress, welcomed the funding. They confirmed that the new and continuing awards are vital for individuals and communities in critical need of housing resources and support. Merkley said, “I won’t stop working to ensure Oregonians in every corner of the state have access to safe, dependable, and affordable housing.”

The Biden administration confirmed that the new amount for 2003 Continuum of Care grants marked a new high.


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