As the Oregon Senate is back in session after a historic, weeks-long walkout, several groups are closely watching the legislature’s work. One organization is even citing “budget uncertainty” caused by the walkout as a reason why they are making cuts to their services.
But the Senate being back in session does not solve everything. The stoppage in legislative work has a ripple effect. Corvallis-based Unity Shelter said they are closing their men’s shelter as a result of “budget uncertainty” created by the stalemate in Salem.
Executive Director Shawn Collins said while their other services will remain open and help brunt the impact of the closure, it was a tough decision to close their South Corvallis shelter for men.
It was a closure that had to happen, he said, as they are currently running on reserve funding they are stretching to last a few months. Closing the shelter will help them keep their other services operating.
Most of Unity Shelter’s funds come from Community Services Consortium, a multi-county agency who takes funds budgeted by the state and awards them to community groups. The agency typically awards funds by May or June, Collins said, but with the senate walkout delaying the budget process, funding opportunities have not been announced.
“It takes time for that money to flow, for [the Community Services Consortium] to properly manage it, get contracts in place and get that money into the hands of agencies that rely on them for funding,” Collins said. “So, we think that it could easily be late July, August, maybe even September before any money starts to flow.”
“They need to understand that it’s not–this is not a game,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who rely on that state budget being passed in a timely manner so that their lives are not disrupted over a few bills that they don’t like.”
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