Jeff Intervenes to Save Jobs, Expand Help Provided by Local Housing Agencies

In late 2012, Jeff Merkley learned that the Central Oregon Housing Authority (Housing Works) had mistakenly used erroneous data that was provided to them by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to respond to a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the federal Family Self Sufficiency Program. As a result of using this bad data, Housing Works lost funding for two caseworkers and had to reduce their assistance to approximately 70 households in Central Oregon. This exact situation happened to similar agencies in Linn and Benton Counties, Northeast Oregon, Marion County and Yamhill County.

When Jeff heard from Housing Works Housing and Resident Director Kenny LaPoint about local agencies being punished by bad data from the federal government, he stepped up to help. Jeff sent a letter to HUD asking them to fix the erroneous data and allow the local agencies to reapply for the funding using the correct data. HUD promptly responded and allowed the affected housing agencies to reapply. In the end, Housing Works was funded for the three caseworkers that they had before and was able to serve 129 families in Central Oregon with the funding.

Organization like Housing Works provide much needed assistance to families across Central Oregon, including helping families learn how to be self-sufficient and transition away from government assistance. Jeff believes that local agencies shouldn’t be penalized for mistakes by the federal government and was happy to help step in and right this wrong. And now, more families in Central Oregon and across the state can get the assistance they deserve.