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Oregon Lawmakers Add $5 Million To Budget For Emergency Shelter

Oregon lawmakers have added $5.2 million to the state’s 2017-19 budget to cover the rising costs of emergency housing and homeless shelters. 

Gov. Kate Brown requested the extra money.

Multnomah County will receive close to half the one-time funding — $2.4 million — to maintain shelter capacity and create housing placement for homeless families. 

In the Portland area, the number of homeless families trying to get into shelters roughly doubled over the summer of 2017. To keep children off the street, Multnomah County paid to house many of the families in motels.

That costs about $3,000 a month per family. By the time winter came, the county had already spent the money it had set aside for family shelter for the year. 

The Legislature’s extra funding will keep Multnomah County from having to kick more than 200 parents and children out of the shelter system, according to Brown. 

Other parts of the state, including southern, northeast and central Oregon will receive new money for emergency shelter.

In Central Oregon the number of homeless people living outside is rising, and cold winter temperatures in the high desert put many people who outside at risk of freezing to death.

Below is a list of how legislators have directed the $5.2 million will be distributed.

Multnomah County: $2,373,351

Clackamas County Mobile Housing Services: $782,107

Washington County Community Action: $571,973

Lane County Human Services Division $498,399

Central Oregon Neighborhood Impact: $319,485

Jackson County Community Action Agency (ACCESS): $228,202

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency: $50,000

Community Connection of Northeast Oregon Inc: $141,483

Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland: $35,000

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Amelia Templeton is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting, covering Portland city hall, justice and local news. She was previously a reporter for EarthFix, an award-winning public media project covering the environment in the Northwest.