Oregon governor's $370 million plan to reduce homelessness

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is proposing that the state invest $370 million to create more housing and reduce homelessness among children and veterans.

The Democratic governor has outlined a four-pronged strategy that involves focusing on ending child homelessness, aiding homeless veterans, increasing supportive programs and accelerating the housing supply in both metropolitan and rural areas.

"There is no single solution—not one entity, or one person—that can solve the crises across the housing spectrum, from homelessness to stable rental housing to increasing homeownership," Brown said in a Tuesday press release. "To get people quickly off the street and into permanent homes, it takes collaboration from community partners, from employers and business leaders, every level of government, and concerned citizens.”

The plan proposes increasing the housing supply by 25,000 homes by 2023.

A shortage of affordable rental units is one of the biggest drivers of the state’s housing problems, the governor’s plan states. A high percentage of Oregon tenants spend more than 50% of their income on rents.

Oregon is also below the national average in home ownership, ranking the as the ninth lowest in a 2017 survey. The rates are particularly low among minorities with the ownership rate for African-Americans at 30% compared to 63% for whites, the plan said.

A January 2017 count found 13,953 homeless people in the state – an increase of 6% since 2015. Among them 3,500 were families with children and 1251 were veterans.

To address child homelessness, Brown’s plan proposes creating up to 2,600 units by doubling the bonding capacity for the Local Innovation and Fast Track housing program to $160 million. The plan will also increasing bond capacity to $25 million to preserve 400 units of existing affordable housing.

The state would aid veterans by creating a list and providing resources such as street outreach, emergency shelters, transitional housing and homeless prevention programs.

The third part of the plan focuses on helping tenants stay in their homes with support services including rental assistance. Brown is proposing to use $20 million in bond proceeds in 2019 to create more supportive services housing.

The final piece of the plan aims to work with local governments to spur more housing development do people can live where they work. The program proposes $15 million in state resources to work with local governments and employers.

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Affordable housing bonds Kate Brown State of Oregon Oregon