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Ashland group receives $4.2 million grant to convert motel into shelter facility

Options for Helping Residents of Ashland is the first Oregon group to receive a 'Project Turnkey' grant from the state in order to found a new shelter.

Posted: Feb 4, 2021 11:25 AM
Updated: Feb 4, 2021 7:23 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — An Ashland-based organization will receive a $4.2 million grant from the state in order to buy and convert a local motel into a shelter facility, part of Oregon's newly-funded "Project Turnkey."

The Oregon Community Foundation announced on Thursday that Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) had been selected to be the first recipient of a Project Turnkey grant. The funds are meant to be used to create a resource center and shelter facility for people in the community "negatively impacted by wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic."

OHRA plans to convert the Super 8 motel building at 2350 Ashland Street into a shelter, with hopes of having the center open at a limited capacity in March for the most vulnerable members of the community.

At the outset, the new building will offer 20 separated living areas that can accommodate as many as 30 people, but will eventually expand to 50 available rooms for up to 70 people.

The current OHRA shelter accommodates a maximum of 44 people, all in a common room. With COVID-19 still a major concern, proponents of the project consider separated living quarters a much safer alternative.

“There is a huge need for the new OHRA Center, given the triple impact of wildfires, economic impact from Covid-19 and the shortage of affordable housing in the great Ashland area,” said Michelle Arellano, executive director of OHRA. “We’re ecstatic to be able to meet this demand and make a difference in our broader community.”

According to the state, the number of people seeking services each day from OHRA tripled over the last year. Arellano said that the new OHRA center will offer greater capacity for staff to help people transition from crisis to stability and services for residents to seek jobs.

The Oregon Legislature's Emergency Board set aside $65 million in state funds in November of 2020 so that local organizations throughout the state could purchase financially distressed motels and convert them into safe shelters, with the potential of developing them into long-term housing.

“The opportunity to acquire a Project Turnkey facility is a game changer for our work with homeless individuals and families, including those displaced by the September 2020 wildfire,” said state Representative Pam Marsh. “For far too long our shelter providers have had to scramble to find a place for people to come in from the cold. Now we have a permanent location in the community that will serve as a base to help individuals regain their footing. I am thrilled — and deeply grateful.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 4334
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Multnomah56445713
Washington39207326
Marion37314457
Clackamas30208312
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Jackson23297314
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Umatilla14616151
Linn13198132
Douglas12294251
Josephine9476198
Yamhill8868114
Klamath8194122
Polk750281
Malheur570079
Benton562431
Coos512396
Columbia388944
Jefferson382456
Lincoln325540
Union322950
Crook298146
Wasco293341
Clatsop245528
Baker205229
Tillamook198333
Hood River196637
Morrow187123
Curry182925
Harney114927
Grant100813
Lake96112
Wallowa69512
Gilliam1624
Sherman1603
Wheeler1081
Unassigned00

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Cases: 4854041

Reported Deaths: 71417
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775720
Orange3251235578
Sacramento1596362313
Kern1472941652
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921415
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen758747
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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