Connect to Congress: Merkley explains HUD funding to address homelessness


There are different ways to address the homelessness crisis in America, and pretty much everyone agrees that there is no one simple solution. That’s why government agencies at nearly every level are committing money and resources to tackle the problem.

Recently Oregon’s federal delegation announced more than $60-million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Continuum of Care program to 140 homelessness prevention and support initiatives in communities across Oregon.

Gov. Tina Kotek (D-Ore.) declared a state of emergency due to homelessness last year, but the emergency, according to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is felt nationwide.

“I just came from a hearing about the housing shortages across the country,” Merkley said. “It doesn’t matter which coast or which major metropolitan area or rural America, everyone realizes that we vastly underbuilt, and in Oregon we have the additional complication that developers know that they have a ready market for folks who move up from the Bay Area who can pay huge amounts for houses so they don’t build anything that looks like a starter house. That’s an enormous additional problem that Oregon is facing.”

Merkley has been pushing the End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act, which would stymie hedge fund control over single-family homes.

In the meantime, the recent grants delivered to Oregon will address housing shortages throughout the state.

“I’m really pleased that we were able to deliver this $60 million for 111 renewal initiatives across the state, 10 new initiatives, eight planning initiatives,” he said. “We need federal support for affordable housing in every single way we can.”

The money will support “140 initiatives across the state among four different categories of awards: new funding, renewal funding, Youth Homeless Demonstration program (YHDP) renewals, and planning initiatives,” according to a press release from Sen. Merkley’s office.

A breakdown and classification of these funds can be found below:

  • $2,351,449 for 10 new initiatives in Clackamas, Lane, Marion, and Multnomah counties.
  • $50,918,438 for 111 renewal initiatives throughout the state.
  • $4,387,821 for 11 YHDP renewal initiatives: The goal of the YHDP is to support coordinated development and implementation of initiatives to prevent and end youth homelessness. This program is intended to serve young people experiencing homelessness aged 24 and under, including unaccompanied youth and pregnant or parenting youth who are experiencing homelessness.
  • $2,636,303 for eight planning initiatives in Clackamas, Deschutes, Lane, Marion, Multnomah, and Washington counties.