Oregon agency awards more than $40 million in COVID-19 prevention, response grants

by 24USATVApril 6, 2021, 6 a.m. 21
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SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon Housing and Community Services publicly announced awardees for the second round of Emergency Solution Grants-Coronavirus totaling more than $40 million at this month’s Housing Stability Council meeting.

The ESG-CV funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and are being used to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic among individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of falling into homelessness.

This is the first time in state history OHCS allocated homeless response and prevention resources allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a competitive process.

“We know that during this crisis, too many Oregonians are falling into homelessness or living unsheltered,” said OHCS Executive Director Margaret Salazar. “This funding is historic because it will help rebuild lives, and because we are partnering with an array of diverse service providers that have trusted relationships with Oregon’s communities of color, so we can reach people hardest hit by the crisis.”

During the 2020 Special Session, given the magnitude of the ESG-CV resources and the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, OHCS sought and received flexibility from the Oregon Legislature to allocate $42 million of ESG-CV to providers who had not previously been eligible under the House Bill 4304 (2020 2nd Special Session).

These funds will be distributed by geographic Continuum of Care (CoC) region to ensure that projects meeting the state goals and priorities are funded adequately throughout the state.

“In the midst of this public health crisis, we must continue to be actionable and strategic in deploying solutions to address and prevent homelessness,” said OHCS Director, of Housing Stabilization Andrea Bell. “Together with community partners we were able to be adaptive in leveraging dollars strategically for the greatest impact to provide critical services to those at the margins.”

A total of 58 applications were received from providers across the state. Applicants were required to meet the federal funding definitions and comply with the ESG Federal Grant Requirements to receive funding.

After a rigorous review process, 36 applicants were notified that OHCS intends to award funds.

Applications encompassed proposals for serving multiple population groups, including communities of color, veterans, women and families, youth, and include both community-based organizations and state government/local jurisdiction entities. Several applications are considered culturally specific providers, and many others provide culturally-responsive services per the definitions provided in the application.

“Wonderful news!” said Melissa Erlbaum of Clackamas Women’s Services. “Over the past year, we’ve seen a drastic uptick in the need for lifesaving support services. Being able to participate in this funding opportunity will provide critical resources for the individuals and families we serve escaping domestic and sexual violence.”

These resources and partnerships will advance Oregon’s Statewide Housing Plan in providing critical services for people experiencing homelessness and addressing the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on communities of color and other at-risk populations.

Oregonians in need of assistance can contact 2-1-1 to be connected with local service providers.

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