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State housing agency seeks public input on funding priorities for recovery from 2020 Labor Day fires

Crews clear roads to reach evacuees, trapped firefighters on Holiday Farm Fire
Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal
Crews clear roads to reach evacuees, trapped firefighters on Holiday Farm Fire

SALEM, Ore.  (KTVZ) — Oregon Housing and Community Services said Wednesday it is looking for public input on what the priorities should be for spending $422 million in federal disaster recovery funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The funds will come in the form of a Community Development Block Grant for disaster recovery and mitigation and will assist with the ongoing recovery from the 2020 Labor Day fires. 

In order to receive the funding later this year, the agency must complete a series of federal requirements, including developing an Action Plan to lay out how the money will be spent.

The Action Plan will focus on replacing housing, particularly for low- and moderate-income families or individuals, but there are also other ways the money can be spent, such as on public infrastructure or economic revitalization.

OHCS has been meeting with local governments and community groups working on wildfire recovery to get their input on priorities for the Action Plan, but we also want to hear from interested members of the public. OHCS invites anyone who is interested to take its online survey, including a mobile-friendly version, which is available on the OHCS website.

“We are looking for public input, because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the ‘Oregon Way,’ and we know it will make the plan better,” said Alex Campbell, chief external affairs officer for Recovery and Resiliency at OHCS. “We are especially interested to hear from folks we know were hit the hardest and who face the greatest challenges in recovery, including our Latino/a/x neighbors, older residents, and Oregonians who have specific housing needs due to disability or other circumstance.”

Once a draft Action Plan is written, Oregonians will have another opportunity to provide comment in May, as required by HUD. More details on how to participate will be announced in the coming weeks. 

To learn more about the Community Development Block Grant funding process, timeline, and upcoming presentations, and to download an Oregon Wildfire Disaster Recovery fact sheet, visit the OHCS website or sign up to receive e-mail notifications.

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