$350,000 available to help homeless veterans across Oregon
Medford, Ore. - Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) in partnership with the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs announced the release of $350,000 in resources to provide immediate assistance for Oregon's homeless veterans. The biggest help for homeless veterans comes in the form of affordable and safe housing, according to the White City VA's manager of the Homeless Program - Amanda Doemland - said.
"It's this big community effort that we participate in to try an reduce the barriers, increase income and resources so that they can be successfully housed," Doemland said.
Governor Kate Brown is leading the effort to end veteran homelessness in Oregon, and these funds will be implemented by Community Action Agency partners across the state and delivered through the Veterans Emergency Housing Assistance program administered by OHCS.
"Every veteran in Oregon deserves safe and stable housing," Governor Brown said. "I'm proud of the progress we're making to ensure every veteran has a roof over his or her head, and this dedicated funding takes us another step closer toward ending veterans homelessness in Oregon.
"We're excited about our partnership with the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs as we work together to end veteran homelessness in Oregon," said Margaret Salazar, Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services. "Our veterans have bravely served our country and we owe it to them to ensure that they have a safe and stable place to call home."
The most recent homeless Point-in-Time count found the number of homeless veterans in Oregon has declined by 121 people, which is a decrease of 9% from 2015. Significant attention and resources, particularly from local governments, have been focused towards housing Oregon's homeless veterans and these numbers indicate progress is being made. However, there is still work to do; the 2017 Point-in-Time count found 1,251 veterans are still homeless in Oregon. With the additional $350,000, we expect to provide even more homeless veterans with housing opportunity and see veteran homeless rates continue to drop.
"In the last few years, we have made great progress in reducing the number of homeless veterans, but we still have a long way to go to meet our goal of ending veteran homelessness in our state," said Cameron Smith, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs. "This funding is essential as we continue to work to address the housing needs of all of Oregon's veterans and their families."
Doemland says that may be an inaccurate number though because it's only data from a single day, not over a span of time.
Funding for this program is part of a swath of new and expanded veteran services made possible through the allocation of 1.5 percent of net Lottery revenues, which Oregon voters approved by an overwhelming margin in 2016 (as Measure 96).