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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.

Confirmed Cases: 9636

Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah236169
Marion159547
Washington149120
Clackamas79524
Umatilla6674
Union3551
Lincoln3452
Deschutes2010
Lane1963
Malheur1601
Linn1569
Polk15412
Jackson1400
Yamhill1328
Jefferson1310
Klamath1251
Benton915
Hood River880
Wasco851
Morrow821
Clatsop490
Douglas450
Josephine441
Coos420
Columbia350
Lake200
Tillamook130
Crook120
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker40
Sherman20
Grant10
Harney10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 250514

Reported Deaths: 6315
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1078063457
Riverside19450479
Orange15778360
San Diego15696387
San Bernardino13676269
Imperial6979105
Alameda6472140
Fresno562677
Kern510080
Santa Clara4849160
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
San Francisco377650
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3441108
Contra Costa343279
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271019
Kings258332
Stanislaus239144
Monterey179115
Solano147625
Merced127211
Sonoma126710
Placer78611
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4173
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1444
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo331
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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