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State to fund projects for homeless low-income veterans

Application deadline is Oct. 20

SALEM, Ore. - The state of Oregon announced Monday more than $17 million in funding available for the construction, acquisition or rehabilitation of new multifamily rental housing units that serve low-income veterans struggling with financial or mental health crises. 

"Oregon's veterans deserve the assurance of knowing they have access to safe and stable housing," said Governor Kate Brown. "I am proud we were able to dedicate additional funding for veteran services this Legislative session, which will support my new initiative to end veterans' homelessness in Oregon. Together with a broad group of public and private partners, we must continue work to ensure every Oregon veteran has a roof over his or her head." 

The program is being coordinated through Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), in partnership with the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs (ODVA) and with funding from the state's General Housing Account Program, Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program and Mental Health Housing fund. 

OHCS is seeking creative and innovative community-oriented projects that create housing units to serve veterans through new construction or acquisition and rehabilitation. 

"It is unacceptable for Oregon's veterans to lack safe, decent and affordable housing," said OHCS Director Margaret Salazar. "OHCS is honored to partner with ODVA to offer these permanent housing resources for those who have risked their lives for our freedom." 

The funding includes $4 million allocated for urban areas (up to $125,000 per unit) and $4 million for rural areas (up to $200,000 per unit). Rural areas are defined as communities with populations of 15,000 or less in Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Jackson, Lane, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington or Yamhill counties, or communities with populations of 40,000 or less anywhere else in the state. 

In addition, $5 million is available to serve veterans at extremely low-income levels. Finally, $4.2 million is available ($50,000 per unit) for supported or supportive housing projects serving veterans with severe mental illness or substance use disorders. 

ODVA estimates there are over 1,300 homeless veterans in the state, representing about one-tenth of the total homeless population. 

"One homeless veteran is too many; over 1,300 is truly heartbreaking," said ODVA Director Cameron Smith. "We are dedicated to ending veteran homelessness in Oregon, and through strong partnerships with community leaders and non-profits, we will help ensure every veteran facing homelessness or mental health crisis has the resources and care they need to get back on their feet." 

The notice of funding availability was issued July 25. Applications for funding are due by 4 p.m. Oct. 20, 2017. For further criteria and instructions, visit www.oregon.gov/ohcs/Pages/nofa-ghap-veterans.aspx.


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