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Oregon's 2020 revenue outlook could mean more money for the homeless

Another economic windfall could mean more grants for organizations that help the homeless, including Rogue Retreat in southern Oregon.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 6:33 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — On Thursday, lawmakers heralded another favorable economic forecast for the state of Oregon. One lawmaker in particular, House Speaker Tina Kotek, indicated that it would mean a larger investment in addressing the state's struggle with homelessness.

"In the midst of a statewide housing crisis, I think it’s essential we direct some of our ending fund balance toward helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness get access to shelter," Kotek said in a statement. "I will be increasing my request for one-time dollars for serving unsheltered Oregonians from $40 million to $60 million.”

For organizations in southern Oregon that are on the frontlines of fighting homelessness, Kotek's statement is welcome news.

“I think that anytime that you have funds available that can be utilized for shelter and hosing services, it brings people to the table because all of a sudden they have resources, so anytime we’re able to bring people together and have resources to actually do something, it ends up lending itself to the bigger picture of the work we are doing,” said Matt Vorderstrasse, development director for Rogue Retreat.

According to Vorderstrasse, it was a one-time grant that allowed the Kelly Shelter in Medford to become a year-round 54-bed shelter for the homeless. Before Access received an influx of funding and put $1.2 million toward the Kelly Shelter project, it was no more than a winter shelter for three years.

Rogue Retreat runs the Kelly Shelter, and the organization's greatest purpose is to address the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in the area.

“With the initial investment, that’s how ACCESS and the Jackson County COC was able to leverage the funding, enabling Jackson County to buy the facility that the Kelly Shelter expanded into,” Vordstrasse said. “It is an investment that the state of Oregon that we're grateful they made, and the initial investment that they did . . . the increase of that is just going to help more people.”

Whether Kotek's proposal will become a reality remains to be seen, but she still leads a Democratic supermajority in the state House.

According to Vordstrasse, there's still much more to be done here in southern Oregon.

“Part of the reason that we’re in the situation we are in now is because of the housing deficit that we have with affordable housing," he said. "And we know that as a community we need between four thousand and five thousand affordable housing units built to correct the market.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 394569

Reported Deaths: 5243
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60720847
Washington42359405
Marion40153516
Clackamas33040387
Lane30428361
Jackson25105363
Deschutes23795189
Umatilla15144184
Linn14859183
Douglas13523293
Josephine10278247
Yamhill9840143
Klamath9112149
Polk8325102
Benton615338
Malheur593292
Coos5768109
Columbia438056
Jefferson424366
Lincoln365852
Crook343057
Union340756
Wasco318646
Clatsop263635
Baker221833
Tillamook218046
Hood River216537
Morrow197825
Curry193939
Harney121333
Grant109116
Lake105617
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5107717

Reported Deaths: 74800
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153472027244
San Diego4091824350
Riverside3892365381
San Bernardino3762805983
Orange3352965756
Sacramento1690952452
Kern1582701828
Fresno1574692270
Santa Clara1528571928
Alameda1256281512
San Joaquin1080791835
Ventura1043091192
Contra Costa1042181056
Stanislaus919641429
Tulare867391100
San Francisco57141674
San Mateo56585631
Monterey52842626
Solano47828360
Santa Barbara47523555
Merced45309671
Sonoma43349414
Placer42458473
Imperial38932776
Kings35370367
San Luis Obispo31667360
Madera26388311
Shasta26221461
Butte25608318
Santa Cruz22402224
Yolo21722261
Marin18587249
El Dorado18448168
Sutter14646186
Napa13446106
Yuba1079891
Tehama10316131
Humboldt10294119
Nevada10112105
Mendocino864999
Lassen797656
San Benito787979
Tuolumne778491
Lake7057113
Amador580067
Siskiyou479657
Glenn458536
Calaveras445788
Del Norte377942
Colusa328321
Inyo257346
Plumas19577
Mono19034
Mariposa162218
Trinity100717
Modoc7936
Sierra2190
Unassigned1560
Alpine1080
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