The Housing Authority of Washington County, a new CLPHA member and a Department of Washington County, Oregon, recently joined HUD’s House America through proclamation of the County Board of Commissioners. HAWC, which also recently joined the Moving to Work (MTW) program, is aggressively working to reduce homelessness in its jurisdiction. A recent voter-approved Supportive Housing Services (SHS) measure is bringing $200 million a year to the region to reduce homelessness. The measure is in place for ten years. The housing authority is utilizing this money to issue 500 new regionally funded subsidies a year for the next three years, with a total goal of 1,700 new subsidies to reduce homelessness in its region. As part of the Housing Department’s new homeless division work, 17 contracts were recently signed with service providers from throughout the Portland Metro region. Within the new service provider network are four culturally specific providers including Bienstar, Centro Cultural, IRCO and Urban League. Each provider will be hiring anywhere from 2-3 case managers to work with homeless individuals in the county.
HAWC has also fully issued its new allocations of Mainstream and Emergency Housing Vouchers and will receive 50 new VASH vouchers. In addition, the housing authority received over $25 million in state funding for short term rent eviction. “The additional federal funds, combined with new regional and state resources, are critical in our goals around ending chronic homelessness in our community. Braiding these resources and utilizing our MTW flexibilities are making a huge difference” says HAWC Assistant Director Josh Crites. The combined housing department and housing authority has the goal of housing 500 chronically homeless individuals in 2022.