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The Daily Barometer

Governor declares a state of emergency for homelessness


By Nino Paoli

Published on 2/7/23

Governor Tina Kotek declared a homelessness state of emergency in multiple Oregon counties on Jan. 10, following her signing of three executive orders to address the issue.

Though Benton County was not listed as a region that was considered in a state of emergency under Executive Order No. 23-02, the two other executive orders are aimed to reduce sheltered and unsheltered homelessness statewide, by prioritizing the issue and proposing a $130 million investment for housing production. 

For Executive Order No. 23-02, it aims to address for homelessness in areas such as Portland Metro and Lane County, which have experienced at least a 50% increase in unsheltered homelessness between 2017 and 2022, according to the State of Oregon’s official website.

For Benton County and Corvallis, Executive Orders No. 23-03 and 23-04 may allow easier access to available funds that would be used to combat homelessness, or houselessness, said Patrick Rollens, public information officer for the city of Corvallis.

“A lot of different pots of money that can be used to address different components of houselessness have different reporting requirements or have more narrow applications,” Rollens said.

According to Rollens a state of emergency can loosen up some of those restrictions and enable that money to be deployed more creatively.

Though Rollens is excited to see exactly how the executive orders may help Corvallis and Benton County, entities such as the Home, Opportunity, Planning and Equity Advisory Board are already combating homelessness, as it is a major issue in the Corvallis community, Rollens said.

“Here in Corvallis, we’ve been working on these issues of houselessness for a really long time, both the city, as well as Benton County, as well as all of our local service providers,” Rollens said. “So, the announcement from the governor is welcome news, but it’s… catching up to some of the perspectives and actions that Corvallis is already taking.”

Read the full article on The Daily Barometer's website here.

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