ACCESS working on Kotek’s homeless state of emergency

MEDFORD, Ore.– After the state legislature passed a $200 million homeless package Wednesday, local organizations are starting work on the governors state of emergency.

Governor Kotek’s state of emergency includes $130 million in funding statewide.

Access said it’s working on partnering with other organizations to make sure the funding is used properly.

Access Support Services Director Melanie Doshier said, “it feels good to know that more attention is going to the need that exists in our communities.”

The majority of the money will go to communities that saw an increase of 50% or more in unsheltered homelessness over the last five years.

Doshier said, “there is a big need for investments into rapid rehousing programs, sheltering needs across all types of shelters that are needed, as well as homelessness prevention.”

Medford and Ashland both qualified for the governors state of emergency.

Access and other organizations will be working on a multi-agency coordination plan.

It said the state will be setting performance benchmarks to hold organizations accountable.

Doshier said, “additional shelter beds, housing unsheltered individuals and homelessness prevention so that we do know is going to be the focus of this funding stream.”

Legislators said money from the bills will also extend homeless support to rural and coastal Oregon.

Although the state has not said when the money will be distributed, local officials expect it to come within the next few weeks.

Doshier said, “I think that not a single funding stream can solve for the complexity of what were facing, but this is a good start in the right direction.”

The bill includes $20 million for a state modular housing fund.

There is also another $25 million in the package for supporting homeless youth with rental assistance, shelter and health care.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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