On February 24, 2022, lawmakers in Oregon proposed a $400 million package to address homelessness and affordable housing options imperatively. House majority leader Julie Fahey stated, “We have heard from Oregonians that they want to see action to address homelessness and housing affordability and solutions that work.”
Why should we take a look at Oregon’s legislative plan?
A 2020 federal review completed a study that found that for every 10,000 people living in Oregon, thirty-five individuals of this sub-population were struggling with homelessness. New York, Hawaii, and California are the only three states in America to experience higher rates of homelessness.
Oregon’s $400 million plan seeks to mitigate these high rates of homelessness through three key initiatives. First, there is $165 million allocated to address Oregon’s more immediate needs for addressing homelessness. More specifically, this plan will expand shelter capacities and hygiene resources for those experiencing homelessness. While this component is more short-term focused, it provides the necessary support and resources for the high rates of homelessness within Oregon.
Then, in a more long-term focused initiative, $215 million is supplied to build and preserve affordable housing and $20 million to support home ownership. The latter initiatives are more sustainable attempts at addressing homelessness; rather than merely housing an individual for a night, these initiatives seek to provide sustained housing for Oregonian individuals.
The most important part of this mission is that legislatures are determined to find the root causes of homelessness prevalence. Likewise, The HomeMore Project aims to do with every individual. Fahey also mentions, “We have to be thinking about things that will make a difference in the short term, but also, planning for the long term and addressing the root causes of issues.”
Oregon is taking a step in a positive direction, and hopefully, other states will proceed to follow in their footsteps.