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Governor Tina Kotek's Pledge to Combat Oregon's Homelessness Crisis

June 16, 2023
Authors: Aaron Kirk Douglas
Publishers: HFO Multifamily Marketwatch

An interesting article in Vox today focuses on Oregon Governor Tina Kotek’s plan to end homelessness for an estimated 18,000 Oregonians. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Homelessness has increased by 63% in Oregon over the past six years, partly due to a severe housing supply constraint. Housing and homelessness have been Governor Tina Kotek’s primary priorities after she almost lost the election to Republican Christine Drazen due to the state’s homelessness crisis.
  • Upon taking office, Kotek proclaimed a state of emergency on homelessness, directed state agencies to prioritize reducing homelessness, and established a 36,000 new dwellings per year housing production goal for the entire state.
  • Kotek formed a housing production advisory council to create a plan to meet this goal. The group plans to deliver an action plan to the Governor’s office by the end of 2023.
  • The Governor backed and signed a $200 million legislative package to address the housing and homelessness crisis. In March, this $200 million was supplemented by an additional $50 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Kotek’s strategy primarily depends on local authorities taking the initiative and supplying the required resources.
  • Governor Kotek thinks that the Great Recession, during which housing construction ceased while migration to Oregon persisted, was the foundation of the current homelessness epidemic.
  • By the end of the year, her administration hopes to link 1,200 people with long-term housing and help 8,750 people with rental assistance and temporary shelter.
  • The creation of “little villages” with individual pods and the conversion of hotels and motels into homeless housing are two other creative housing alternatives that Kotek supports.
  • She had a crucial role in enacting the nation’s first “middle housing” law, which supports various housing options.
  • The Governor emphasizes the importance of comprehending the issue’s complexity and implementing short-term and long-term strategies.
  • In the article, Kotek highlights how substance use, such as meth, can develop due to the traumatic experience of homelessness, suggesting that homelessness can lead to significant mental and physical illnesses, including substance use disorders, often exacerbated by being unhoused. She does not mention decriminalization of hard drugs or measure 110 as a contributing factor, but rather, that homelessness contributes to the abuse of drugs.

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