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Gov. Kotek adds Malheur County to homeless State of Emergency


SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Tina Kotek announced Friday that Malheur County meets the criteria to be included in the Homelessness State of Emergency she declared on her first day in office on Jan. 10.

“Malheur County has an overwhelming rate of unsheltered homeless people who need a leg up through shelter and services,” Malheur County Judge Dan Joyce, who helped advance their emergency declaration, said. “I am grateful the Governor has recognized this need and is answering our call for help in Eastern Oregon.”

Governor Kotek made the decision to include Malheur County in the emergency order and notified the county with letter after Oregon Housing and Community Services reviewed county data and determined that Malheur County meets the criteria for inclusion:

  1. On March 8, the Malheur County Board of Commissioners declared a local state of emergency related to homelessness;
  2. The number of unsheltered people in Malheur County was 141 in 2022, which exceeds the minimum threshold of 30 households experiencing unsheltered homelessness; and
  3. The share of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Malheur County is 83%, which exceeds the minimum threshold of a rate of unsheltered homelessness of 80% or greater.

Malheur County marks the second county added to the emergency declaration, preceded by Clatsop County. These additions are consistent with the Governor’s commitment to review county emergency declarations for consideration to be added to the state emergency.

House Bill 5019, which would provide urgent, statewide assistance to support the Governor's emergency order to prevent and reduce homelessness in all regions of Oregon, includes $27.4 million to rehouse people experiencing homelessness and expand shelter capacity in the 26 rural counties within the Balance of State Continuum of Care – including Malheur County. The bill passed the Oregon State House on March 15.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest
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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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