Governor ‘disappointed’ in Portland, Multnomah County homeless plan

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 5:52 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - A massive investment in state funds in housing and homelessness is about to roll out.

Governor Tina Kotek announced Monday how much different city and county governments across the state will receive in emergency homeless plan funding. This is all part of the governor’s goal of creating over 600 new shelter beds and rehouse 1200 homeless families this year.

By the end of the month, Kotek says $85.2 million of the local emergency homeless plan funds will be distributed. Kotek says in order for counties and cities to get their share of the funds, they had to submit their emergency homeless plans to the state for review. The governor says the state will be involved in every step of the process.

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“The funding today is not the end of the conversation,” said Kotek. “The funding today is connected to community plans with specific outcomes of shelter capacity, new shelter capacity, and re-housing individuals from unsheltered homelessness to transitional shelter to actual housing.”

The governor lists the allocations as follows to the different continuums of care around the state that are part of the emergency declaration. The continuums of care are made up of city and county governments to work collaboratively on homelessness in their respective areas.

  • Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County: $18.2 million to rehouse 275 households and create 138 shelter beds
  • Eugene/Springfield/Lane County: $15.5 million to rehouse 247 households and create 230 shelter beds
  • Central Oregon: $13.9 million to rehouse 161 households and create 111 shelter beds
  • Salem/Marion, Polk Counties: $10.4 million to rehouse 158 households and create 79 shelter beds
  • Medford, Ashland/Jackson County: $8.8 million to rehouse 133 households and create 67 shelter beds
  • Hillsboro/Beaverton/Washington County: $8.0 million to rehouse 121 households and create 61 shelter beds
  • Clackamas County: $4.4 million to rehouse 130 households.

Gov. Kotek. says she was pleased will all of the city and county plans statewide, but says Portland and Multnomah County need to fill in the gaps.

”In the case of Multnomah County and the City of Portland, I’ll be honest I was disappointed that they didn’t have more clarity,” said Kotek. “I’ve sat through several meetings about trying to understand existing capacity; Who’s paying for what? Where does the money come from? What’s the city committed to? What’s the county committed to? They need to get their stuff together.”

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Multnomah County and Portland leaders have said the funds could be used to help build designated camping areas being pushed by Mayor Ted Wheeler in Portland. Kotek has said state funds can go to those sites as long as there are “pallet shelters” such as sleeping pods or tiny homes. But the governor says the Portland and Multnomah County proposal still is not concrete.

“Their application said that they would be able to create 138 new shelter beds,” said Kotek. “Our understanding is 100 of those are for pallet shelters, 38 are for motel voucher type sheltering. But that’s all we have. We don’t know where, we don’t know who.”

In response to the governor’s remarks Monday, a Multnomah County spokesperson sent out a statement saying county, Portland, and Gresham city leaders are committed to working together with the governor to come up with a successful plan.