A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

May city use $1 million to shelter the homeless

Written December 17th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

On March 1, 2020, an apparently homeless person was sleeping beside Periwinkle Creek.

Over the next year or so, the state government is giving Albany $1 million to spend on “programs or services to address housing insecurity, lack of affordable housing or homelessness.”

This is the result of Senate Bill 5561, passed during the special session of the legislature Monday. Just how the money will be spent is yet to be determined, and there’s no guarantee it will do anything to reduce the number of people who occasionally have to sleep in public places or on the riverbank. But it should.

The bill (now a law) allocates $14 million, to be spread evenly among 14 cities. Besides Albany, they are Ashland, Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, Gresham, Hillsboro, Medford, Portland, Redmond, Salem and Springfield.

The legislation took effect immediately, under an emergency clause,  but just when the money will be available is not clear.

City Manager Peter Troedsson mentioned the allocation in his Friday report to the council.

“Community Development department staff,” he wrote, “are already evaluating the city’s most pressing housing needs and will be meeting with area agencies to verify these needs and help assess current priorities and opportunities. Funds will have to be allocated within the community by June 30, 2023.”

He expects the city council will get involved at an upcoming work session to review funding requests from various agencies.

A million dollars isn’t what it used to be, and it may not really solve much. But surely not having a roof over your head is an immediate and “most pressing” need.

Whichever way the council eventually spends the money, the result should be to increase the number of available shelter spaces for people who otherwise have to sleep in downtown doorways or public parks. (hh)

The remains of a homeless camp on the Willamette River in 2020.

25 responses to “May city use $1 million to shelter the homeless”

  1. LinneB says:

    I hope a lot of this money goes to Albany Helping Hands because, as far as I know, this organization is doing more than any other to address homelessness in our city.

    • Steven Reynolds says:

      The reality is once you announce you have more beds, all the other communities around transfer their challenges to you, we know Lebanon does it to us. We know Helping Hands in the past has been accused of going up to the prisons and offering housing to those being released, we know they’re the housing provider listed in the Prisoner Support Directory. I don’t see any other county or city stepping up except the state capital and Eugene which are three times our size. I don’t even see a housing provider in Multnomah listed, I do see they’ll offer you a bus ticket to Albany..

      Actually this transfer has happened in the whole state, once Salem announced their policies, other states offered transportation for their homeless to Oregon, ask our neighbor east of us. And to not believe we are without sin, we do the same thing, we offer bus tickets down to California. None of us are saying we shouldn’t help but I don’t see the state offering us additional resources for law enforcement or forced housing when we’re the designated recipient of their problems. We’re a small community, we can’t be expected to shoulder this burden. If the state expects us to take on this responsibility, they need to supply us with a whole lot of resources. This is beyond not fair.


  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Should government fix homeless people primarily from the inside out (prevention), or, from the outside in (a roof)? Should government be involved at all?

    Homelessness has its roots in people fleeing their homes. Government policy makers then step in with a political response.

    But no politically motivated law or bureaucratic program can fix dysfunctional families. And the causes of dysfunction are many. The initial problem and the ultimate solution are personal and private. It’s a morality play, not a public one.

    So now we see multiple levels of politically motivated Oregon governments get involved once again with their standard response – throw lots of public money at the “problem.”

    We all know throwing political money around won’t restore a dysfunctional American family. Increasing personal dependence on political handouts just breeds future dependency on political handouts.

    There is an alternative. Well endowed private sector philanthropic organizations offer better and more creative solutions. We should give them more influence and room to operate.

    Taking government out of the equation would be a good first step.

    Sad to say, but you can probably kiss this $1,000,000 good-bye.

    • john hartman says:

      This “solution,” if one can even call it that depends on the so-called “well endowed philanthropic organizations” actually stepping up and helping out.

      This “solution” seems failed as the US has had an ongoing growth in homelessness for decades. The well-endowed are perhaps not so eager to help.

      Take Harvard University, an organization with a $45-Billion dollar endowment, yet Harvard is not even willing to up it’s Freshman enrollment numbers beyond 1600-per-year to serve the underclasses. Those who are enrolled are the scions of wealthy families, legacy children of previous grads or foreign students who pay full freight in tuition.

      Remember…$45-billion and then ask yourself, why does the Joan Kroc Foundation contribute so heavily to National Public Radio to keep that fantasy middle-class network alive, but fails almost entirely where it comes to the less fortunate. And what about the millionaires, billionaires and multi-billionaires who received a VERY generous donation to their coffers thanks to the Trump Tax Cut of 2017? Why can’t those “well-endowed” private philanthropists step-up. The 1-million from State taxpayers may well be just a drop in the bucket of need. One would think the well-endowed might kick-in a bit more.

  3. CHEZZ says:

    Albany Helping Hands addresses the needs of the homeless/houseless. Meals/Shelter/Counsel/Work at their own businesses as well as assisting with resumes, and more. They have opportunity to leave behind the former life and grow into the community. I hope this non-profit is financially recognized.

  4. Jon Taylor says:

    The city should strongly consider a RFP and contract with an existing organization already providing these services. Helping Hands, Salvation Army and others are established and successful but always limited in resources, this is an opportunity for the city to truly help.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    And yet the City continues to punish those that can barely afford to stay in their homes with their ever increasing fees. A lot of home owners simply can’t afford basic maintenance thanks to the City.

    Why not spend the money on paint & shingles etc. for low income home owners and help them NOT become homeless?

  6. MarK says:

    Give them Kate’s address and a bus ticket to Salem.

    • John Hartman says:

      A truer demonstration of compassion does not exist.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        This is a result of your socialist Democrat control of the state since Vic Atiyeh. Dems claim truckloads of “compassion”. You see the result. Make more people dependent on the govt. to better control them.

        • hj.anony1 says:

          It will be a real shock to the system if that changes anytime soon.

          Read a story about potential GQP candidate for gov polling OR Repubs. It showed you people still firmly in the Cult of tRump. Still believing the Big Lie. *SMH*
          Story is on OR Live if you care. (behind a paywall now)

          Oh that potential GQP candidate….not going to run.

          Kapaun, I’ll hazard a guess that you enjoy some poplular American SOCIALISM programs currently. LOL

  7. Richard Vannice says:

    I noticed that it is not known when the money will be available but later it is stated that the money will have to allocated within in the community by 30 June 2023.
    How can anyone say “it has to be allocated” when it isn’t known when (or IF) the State is going to even provide the money.
    Horse before the cart again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Dude says:

    My hope is that it is used toward one single effective purpose. Divvying up the funds will barely pay for the bureacracy of multiple purposes.

  9. Bob Woods says:

    Self-indulgent hatred of everybody. What a message to send about Albany.

    • MarK says:

      Pretty ignorant way of putting it, Bob. Maybe people are just tired of PAYING for those who don’t.

      • Bob Woods says:

        It’s still hatred and it’s self indulgent. Want to mke Albany better? Work together.

        “Give them Kate’s address and a bus ticket to Salem.”
        With that kind of brilliance, I’m surprised Jeff Bezos hasn’t scooped you up and made you Vice President for Bad Cliche’s.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      True compassion is the foundation of family and self-reliance.

      When we expect government to substitute for what we ourselves ought to do, we expect the impossible.

      True compassion demands personal action, not a call for government to “fix” the problem.

  10. James Engel says:

    If the City Council really cares…Then each Councilor needs to take home a “homeless” to feed, cloth & house them for the winter months. And example for us all then to follow. They ain’t coming to my doorstep!

  11. John Hartman says:

    Hasso, today’s column seems to have brought out the Grinch amongst many of the “regulars.” Perhaps the 8 Beatitudes should be edited down to 7, deleting this one to meet the holiday spirit on exhibit in this Comments section:

    “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

  12. Hasso Hering says:

    I think this is enough with the snarky comments. Let it go for now. (hh)

    • Steven Reynolds says:

      HH, just threw an unsportmanslike conduct flag…. All I can say is the new Housing Task Force, with 14 different opinions, will make for some interesting viewing. HH might have to be brought in as the referee.

  13. TLH-ALB1 says:

    If ya want ants….
    Spread some sugar around.

  14. Bob Bush says:

    Hmmm…..was gonna keep scrolling, but didn’t…everyone makes good points……some of us fought for those rights that we have……I think we should help…..How?….first don’t waste funds…..second define the word affordable??…..look at some projects, maybe here in Oregon….or here…..https://www.veteranscommunityproject.org/about….and it’s about homeless and Veterans and maybe ‘affordable’…..do some research….look around…..because admit it or not, we are all only a paycheck or life altering event away from being homeless…..


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