Merkley, Wyden Announce over $2.2 Million in Federal Funds Headed to Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA) a $2,225,000 grant to update its existing veterans’ shelter. This award comes after the announcement of MWVCAA’s acquisition of a new property immediately adjacent to the existing shelter, a community project Senators Merkley and Wyden supported and requested funds for and which was later approved and funded through the government spending bill Senator Merkley helped write and was signed into law earlier this month.

“There are big and important things happening at Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, including the acquisition of a new property to expand shelter space and service capacity for veterans in Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties experiencing homelessness,” said Senator Merkley, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee that secured funding for this project. “It’s great news that the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency is now receiving additional funding from the VA to rehabilitate this building and expand on their support for veterans. I am thankful for Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency and the important work they are doing to help get our veterans off the streets.”

“Veterans in the Willamette Valley and across Oregon deserve solid support when they make the transition to civilian life after their service to our country,” said Senator Wyden. “I’m glad the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency has earned these VA resources with the local agency’s innovative approach to build that housing support for veterans struggling on the streets. And I’ll keep working to secure similar resources for veterans across our state.”

This award is one of 36 grants the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded to community organizations under VA’s Grant and Per Diem program—a program intended to improve the quality of housing options for veterans experiencing homelessness. This award will allow MWVCAA grantee organizations to construct new buildings and renovate existing transitional housing facilities that provide more than 900 beds nationwide for homeless veterans. These grants are supported with funds authorized through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and are a part of limited series of capital grants designed to continue relief efforts in response to COVID-19.

“The Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA) recently received $2,225,000 in capital funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, one of only 36 awards given nationwide. The funds will expand their Grant and Per Diem program and improve housing options for Veterans experiencing homelessness in Marion and Polk County. More specifically, they will help MWVCAA’s Veteran-specific housing project, Tanner Project, protect the health of vulnerable Veterans by transforming their double-occupancy rooms into single occupancy ones. Tanner Project is a transitional housing project for veterans, and the only place between Eugene and Portland that has female-specific veteran beds available. It features a number of on-site supportive services, including case management, mental and behavioral health groups, food resources, peer support, and community activities, all of which Veterans can choose to access as they move towards permanent housing. The renovations at Tanner Project will slow the spread of COVID-19 in the unhoused Veteran population and reduce the risks of congregate-style living. As formerly unhoused Veterans move towards safe, permanent housing, they will have a private, protected space to live where their health and safety will not be at risk,” said Jimmy Jones, Executive Director of Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency.