PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is reviewing 19 applications from non-profits and government agencies in 14 different counties to create unconventional motels-turned-apartment complexes to house wildfire victims and others experiencing homelessness.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports this comes three months after the Legislature allocated $65 million to buy motels to combat homelessness.
However, the non-profit organization tasked with vetting applicants and distributing money to purchase the motels now anticipates that the first properties won’t be available for occupancy until at least mid-February, more than a month after the agency had hoped to start having units available.
“Our goal is a high-quality investment for the community,” said Megan Loeb, associate program officer at the Oregon Community Foundation, chosen to administer the program.”
The state had hoped to have the motels-turned-apartments available in time for the winter months, but Loeb said it has taken time for the foundation to vet applicants and potential properties.
Oregon lawmakers allocated the millions this fall to purchase hotels and motels across the state to house wildfire victims and people experiencing homelessness. At the time, backers said that the money allocated to Project Turnkey could be used for 1,000 shelter units across 18 to 25 properties.
But only about 25 applicants have applied for funding through the program so far with 19 moving forward to the second round of the process. Loeb said those applicants would collectively be able to provide 600 to 700 new shelter units, if they are ultimately approved for funding.
The application process for the $30 million wildfire fund has already closed, but the foundation is continuing to accept applications for the $35 million fund to house people experiencing homelessness.
The non-profit agencies and government entities applying for the funding will be responsible for identifying the individuals who will live in the new shelters once they’ve completed the motel conversions.