Nov. 26, 2020
Did you know that on any given night in Coos and Curry Counties, over 700 people are homeless? While often viewed as an “urban” problem, homelessness and housing insecurity are also experienced in rural communities. While the causes that result in homelessness are complex, the solution is well known – more affordable housing where people can access services to help them stay housed for the long term.
A group of South Coast organizations has recently developed a solution to ending homelessness in the Coos Bay area. NeighborWorks Umpqua, Umpqua Community Property Management, Oregon Coast Community Action, and The Devereux Center are working together to develop a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project in the region. Our organizations were selected to participate in the 2020-2021 Oregon Supportive Housing Institute. The Institute is an intensive six-month training and technical assistance program conducted by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and sponsored by Oregon Housing and Community Services. Eight teams from across Oregon are participating in the Institute as part of the statewide plan to address homelessness comprehensively.
PSH is a tried and true approach that successfully addresses homelessness.
It combines housing that is affordable with robust and comprehensive supportive services with the goal of keeping people housed long term. PSH is a partnership approach between housing developers, managers, and service providers. Rooted in a “Housing First” philosophy, the supportive services and housing are a platform for people to work toward their life goals. When residents have long-term housing, they enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as any other resident.
Our collaborative started in October 2020 and we will spend the next six months working together to plan a PSH project. The team is planning no less than 30 units. The project location is to be determined; given the Coos Bay area availability of services, it will likely be in the Coos Bay / North Bend area.
Kasilita Katoa, NWU Assistant Project Manager, said about the Institute, “The first week of the PSH Institute was awesome! I gained a better understanding of the “Housing First” approach and principles. However, the biggest takeaway for me is that when planning PSH projects, our priority should not only be to provide housing, but also provide tenants with the services and support they need to remain housed.” At the end of the Institute, the team will be able to apply for project funding via Oregon Housing and Community Services.
This effort is a continuation of our broader regional effort to address housing needs on the South Coast. In addition to this PSH project, NWU is leading efforts to build more housing that is affordable, preserve existing affordable housing from Roseburg to White City, and from Reedsport to Brookings. We will also coordinate with regional and local partners on the implementation of the Housing Action Plans developed for Coos and Curry Counties in 2018. NWU is proud to support these community efforts and work with our partners to bring housing solutions to the region.
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