MEDFORD, Ore.- January 9th marks Governor Kotek’s first year in office, and she is continuing statewide efforts toward addressing the homeless crisis by signing two executive orders.
The first of those orders, EO 24-02, will maintain added capacity to the state’s shelter system while also rehousing those experiencing homelessness and preventing homelessness in the future. The other order, EO 24-03, refreshes the state’s Interagency Council on homelessness and directs them to develop plans to reduce sheltered and unsheltered homelessness statewide.
On her first full day in office, Gov. Kotek declared a Homelessness State of Emergency, which has been extended for 2024. After the State of Emergency was declared, Jackson county received over $10 million in total to aid in the homeless crisis locally.
Melissa Markos… Lead of Jackson County Continuum of Care, says the group has been able to accomplish much more than it initially predicted.
“We increased our shelter beds by 133, from our original goal of 67, we rapidly rehoused 217 households, and we prevented 435 evictions,” Markos said.
According to data from the Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state partnered with local groups like COC to create over 1000 low-barrier shelter beds, rehouse nearly 1300 households, and prevent close to 9000 households from experiencing homelessness across the state. All of these efforts exceeded the original goals in the emergency order.
Markos says this is not only a huge accomplishment for the state, but for Jackson County too.
“It’s been a really long, hard journey to pull something off at this magnitude in such a small amount of time,” Markos said, “this is really just the beginning”.
Markos says COC plans on continuing to help those who need shelter with the additional funding from the state.
In her efforts to address the crisis over the past year, Gov. Kotek worked with the legislature to secure $155 million to fund an emergency package to prevent homelessness. She then later secured a $316 million investment to fund homeless services through 2025.
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