$2.9M will get Linn County this many new beds for homeless

From the Albany Democrat-Herald:

After declaring a state of emergency over homelessness in hopes it would result in more state funding, Linn County now has $2.9 million to aid people without housing.

The money is spread across multiple agencies, including plans to build “emergency cottages” for families in Sweet Home.

In all, 106 new shelter and transitional beds are envisioned [across the county].

How we got here: One of Gov. Tina Kotek’s first acts after taking office last year was to declare a state of emergency on homelessness. That declaration authorized emergency funding for Oregon counties that had experienced at least a 50% increase in unsheltered homelessness between 2017 and 2022 using annual point-in-time count data

That formula left out a lot of rural counties in Oregon. Point-in-time counts are often criticized as being inaccurate and difficult to conduct in rural areas.

Linn County, following the lead of Sweet Home, declared its own state of emergency to try to get a bigger piece of the funding pie left over for the rural counties. The move secured the county with about $1 million over what the county was originally allotted.

The funding came from House Bill 5019, which the Legislature approved in response to the need for additional funds to address homelessness throughout rural Oregon.

In June 2023, $26.1 million dollars was authorized to be distributed across 26 rural counties.

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