Federal grants could help get dozens of Salemites off the streets

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The Salem area could receive more than $1 million in federal funds over the next three years to help its most vulnerable homeless residents connect to stable housing and services.

The funding comes through a competitive federal grant process and is intended to help homeless people with “severe service needs,” according to a request for proposals. This includes people who are chronically homeless and those who have physical, mental, developmental or behavioral disabilities that require significant support to maintain permanent housing.

Services would also focus on people in Marion and Polk counties who are considered unprotected, as opposed to people staying in emergency shelters or fleeing domestic violence, said Mid-Willamette Valley consultant Jan Calvin. Homeless Alliance.

This year’s point-in-time tally revealed that of the 1,805 people made homeless in one day in January, 879 were unsheltered while 926 were in emergency shelter. The count provides a one-day snapshot and is known to underestimate the homeless population due to the difficulty in locating people.

Due to the intensity of the services needed, Calvin said the money is not enough to enable hundreds of people to find permanent housing. But the money could make a substantial difference for 20 to 40 people each year who currently sleep near a highway or in a tent camp.

The Marion and Polk County area is eligible for about $1.11 million over three years — $359,800 per year after subtracting $33,300 that would go to the alliance for planning costs, according to the RFP . Applications are due August 31.

This money would be a bonus that would be added to several grants renewed annually within the framework of a federal program.

The alliance is the Marion and Polk County Area Continuum of Care, a program to which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development distributes money for homeless services.

The department will make the final decision on which applicant will receive the new grant.

The grant is part of a $322 million federal spending package the Biden administration announced in June in the form of money intended to combat homelessness.

Faith-based, government and nonprofit organizations, tribes and tribal-designated housing entities can apply for the grant, the application states.

The request says the money is for coordination with housing and health care providers.

“He has to have this intense partnership in health care and housing, so we are working on all fronts to make people feel as comfortable and as secure as they are committed to each other,” said said Calvin. “I think the wave of federal funding is going to see the promise of integrated health care and housing. It is really needed in our community.

The new grant provides the option to include permanent supportive housing, which provides affordable leases with social, health and employment services for people who are homeless, institutionalized or at risk, as well as rapid rehousing, which provides assistance and short-term rental services. intended to help people gain quick access to housing without preconditions.

Calvin declined to say who had already applied, but said some service providers had expressed interest in the grant – some serving a “specialty population” and others a more general population.

She said the money can be distributed from May 2023 until April 2026. The grant is renewable, meaning it can potentially be increased before the end of the three years.

“We have to give our community at least the opportunity to rise to the occasion,” she said. “If you do a good job with things, you can keep those dollars and keep doing a good job.”

Contact journalist Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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