Local organizations react to Gov. Kotek’s executive orders addressing housing, homeless crisis
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Local organizations that work with the houseless in our community are optimistic towards Governor Tina Kotek’s executive orders addressing the housing and homeless crisis in the state.
The executive orders included declaring the homeless crisis a state of emergency, setting a goal for Oregon to build 36,000 new homes per year, and directing state agencies not headed by elected officials to prioritize keeping people off the streets.
“It makes 100% sense and I’m glad she did it,” said Katrina Holland, Executive Director of JOIN. “I’m sure a lot of my colleagues can say the same. We have seen over 50%, and in some cases triple digit increases, in the percentage of homelessness across the state. It’s a terrible situation.”
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In 2021 alone, JOIN helped over 1,800 people transition into permanent housing and keep that housing. She says for years she and other organizations have watched the houseless crisis continue to grow.
“There are people falling off the cliff by the hundreds,” said Holland. “It’s really critical that we intervene both to prevent people who are teetering on the edge from actually falling off the cliff and also housing folks who have been on the streets for a really long time, and those who are finding themselves on the streets and have never been homeless before.”
Path Home has been serving the community for 15 years. In a statement to FOX 12, the organization says they are thrilled with the executive orders, especially with the focus on housing.
“We know that the solution to homelessness is helping people move back into homes - even the most vulnerable people in our community. While shelter can be a really helpful and stabilizing stop along someone’s journey, it can’t be a long-term solution for people. We need to prioritize building housing, making it affordable for people on low incomes, and helping our most vulnerable community members access that housing.”
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While Governor Kotek’s executive orders sound like a step in the right direction, Holland says elected officials now need to invest and act quickly.
“That $130 million package is a good start, but it’s not the end. It’s a big price tag, but this work is expensive. It’s part of the reason for so long that JOIN and other colleagues have been saying it is so much more expensive to help people once they have fallen off the cliff. It was smart of Governor Kotek to prioritize those two things together. I am looking forward to the legislature acting quickly on that. Local jurisdictions making sure to prioritize getting people into housing and keeping them there.”
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