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New Gov. Brown guidance: Stay-home order excludes homeless, shelters, social services

Stay Home save Lives what's open and closed

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Kate Brown on Friday issued further guidance on her stay-home order, Executive Order 20-12, as it relates to Oregonians experiencing homelessness, as well as organizations that provide services to low-income Oregonians.

“My top priority is to keep Oregonians safe and healthy –– whether they are living sheltered or unsheltered –– as we focus on stopping the spread of COVID-19," Brown said.

“That is why my executive order directs Oregonians to stay home whenever possible and prohibits social and recreational gatherings. I know that in practice this may look different for each Oregonian, but the spirit of the order is clear: limit your social circles to your utmost ability.

“It is never acceptable to stigmatize or criminalize people experiencing homelessness. I want to be clear: Oregon's stay-at-home directives do not apply to shelters and social services. They were not intended to serve as an enforcement mechanism against Oregon’s unsheltered population, and we would ask all local officials to follow that intent of the order.”

The governor has issued the following clarifying guidance on Executive Order 20-12:

  • Social service agencies providing for basic food, water, shelter, and hygiene needs of any person who is unable to meet those same needs without the service provider should remain open and use social distancing guidelines provided by the Oregon Health Authority.
  • Shelter providers are not expected to keep shelter residents from interacting within shelters or from leaving shelters, but should encourage residents to limit unnecessary travel, and to practice social distancing guidelines.
  • People experiencing unsheltered homelessness are NOT subject to enforcement of Executive Order 20-12 simply due to the fact that they are in public and unable to stay at home.

This guidance is in line with the governor’s coronavirus housing and homelessness strategy, which includes expanding shelter capacity with social distancing measures in place, identifying emergency COVID-19 shelter options for people experiencing homelessness who must be isolated or quarantined, exploring options for rent assistance, seeking expansion of federal eviction moratoriums, and homeowner foreclosure avoidance.

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