Following decades of federal disinvestment in the nation's housing infrastructure and scarce state resources dedicated to affordable housing and resources to end and prevent homelessness, the nation and state of Oregon are experiencing an unprecedented housing shortage and homelessness crisis. In response, the Oregon Legislature has made significant, historic increases in state housing investments in recent legislative sessions. Oregon Housing and Community Services also adopted a Statewide Housing Plan in 2019 to placing a greater emphasis on strategic planning with an increased emphasis on data and research to inform and focus state housing investments. 

2021 OHCS Legislative Highlights: After a year of unprecedented challenges, Oregon has a long road of recovery ahead. Under the leadership of Governor Kate Brown, OHCS entered the 2021 Legislative Session with a bold agenda to respond to these crises and build an equitable recovery while advancing the Statewide Housing Plan. The Legislature answered the call with a historic investment of over $896 million that will springboard an equitable and coordinated response to multiple co-occurring crises while advancing long-term housing solutions. Of that total amount, $90.18 million is directed toward homelessness and stabilization efforts for the 2021-23 biennium, including:

  • $27 million for shelter infrastructure, capacity, and technical assistance to improve services for Oregonians experiencing homelessness;
  • $1.18 million to improve the Homeless Management Information System;
  • HB 2006, which included additional grants directly to local communities to stand up new shelters and navigation centers across the state; and
  • HB 2100, which modernizes Oregon’s homeless services system and establishes the Task Force on Homelessness and Racial Disparities to recommend changes to the state's funding structure.


Federal Resources

  • Continuums of Care: The Continuum of Care (CoC) program directs funding from the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency to local and regional CoCs for distribution to nonprofit providers. It also funds state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families. 
  • Entitlement Jurisdictions: Cities and counties at certain populations and capacity thresholds may receive direct federal funding through federal programs like the Community Development Block Grant program, HOME, and the Emergency Solutions Grant program.
  • Non-entitlement Federal Funding: The majority of federal funding is administered through Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) for non-entitlement or "balance of state" jurisdictions, see "State Agency Resources" below.

State Agency Resources

Federal Programs

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program: CDBG is funded by HUD and administered by Business Oregon for the "balance of state" non-entitlement jurisdictions. Oregon tribes, entitlement cities (Albany, Ashland, Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, Gresham, Hillsboro, Medford, Portland, Redmond, Salem, and Springfield), and counties (Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington, Marion) receive CDBG funds directly from HUD and are not eligible through the state program. Oregon's balance of state CDBG funds can be granted for public works water infrastructure projects, regional housing rehabilitation programs for single-family housing occupied by low- and moderate-income persons; microenterprise development, and community facilities including libraries, head start centers, emergency/homeless shelters, transitional housing, shelters/workshops for people with disabilities, non-profit health clinics, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and senior centers. Eligible cities and counties typically subgrant with a local nonprofit provider for housing and shelter services. State CDBG funds are allocated competitively twice a year.
  • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG): The CSBG program is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Office of Community Services. OHCS administers Oregon's CSBG funds by formula to community action agencies that meet requirements. Grantees provide services and activities addressing employment, education, self sufficiency, housing, nutrition, healthcare, emergency services and youth or elderly-based initiatives. 
  • Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG): The ESG Program, funded through HUD, assists low-income individuals and families quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness. OHCS allocates ESG funds to community action agencies throughout the state, which are responsible to coordinate the use of the funds to serve their communities. ESG funds can pay for: street outreach, emergency shelter, rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention, and data collection.
  • HOME Tenant Based Assistance (HTBA)HTBA funds can pay for refundable security deposits, utility deposits, and monthly rent and utilities. HTBA is funded through HUD. OHCS allocates HTBA funds  to community action agencies annually.
  • Housing Stabilization Program (HSP): HSP is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and then through a grant from the Oregon Department of Human Services. Funds are allocated to community action agencies annually. HSP assists low-income families who are receiving a state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant or who are otherwise eligible and are homeless or are unstably housed and at risk of becoming homeless.


State Programs

  • Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA): The EHA Program assists low or very-low income persons who are homeless or are unstably housed and at risk of becoming homeless. EHA funds can pay for: street outreach, emergency and transitional shelter, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention, supportive in-home services, data collection, shelter and transitional housing facilities acquisition, rehabilitation/conversion, and community capacity building. EHA is funded through the legislatively approved state general funds and the document recording fee. Funds are allocated to community action agencies annually.
  • Elderly Rental Assistance (ERA): The ERA Program assists very-low income seniors who are homeless or are unstably housed and at risk of becoming homeless. ERA funds can pay for:  transitional housing, rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention, supportive in-home services, data collection, case management and housing stabilization services. ERA is funded through the legislatively approved state general funds. Funds are allocated to community action agencies annually.
  • HB 2100 includes multiple approaches to move toward racial equity in the homeless services system. 
  • State Homeless Assistance Program (SHAP): SHAP helps meet the emergency needs of homeless Oregonians by providing operational support for emergency shelters and supportive services to shelter residents. SHAP funds can pay for: street outreach, emergency and transitional shelter facility maintenance and operations, resident support services, data collection, shelter housing facilities acquisition and rehabilitation/conversion. SHAP is funded through legislatively approved state general funds. Funds are allocated to community action agencies annually.
  • Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Program: The Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Program assists households of lower income that suffer a loss of housing due to wildfire. The Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Program is funded through legislatively approved state general funds. Eligible households apply directly to OHCS for assistance.

Other Resources

  • Local Funding: In addition to federal and state resources, Oregon cities and counties have increased local investments in housing and homelessness, through local general fund revenues, by adopting construction excise taxes, and most recently through federal COVID-19 recovery grants like the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Ability to invest new or additional local revenues is limited by local tax bases.
  • Metro - Supportive Housing Services: In May 2020, voters in greater Portland approved Measure 26-210 to fund services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Metro works with ClackamasMultnomah and Washington counties to reduce homelessness through services that help people find and keep safe and stable homes.
  • Additional local funding for homelessness response and housing may be accessed through partnering with philanthropic organizations, community banks, local health care systems and hospitals including Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs), and local businesses and employers.

Permanent Supportive Housing Is Cost Effective

Studies show that it is less expensive to provide permanent supportive housing than all other “interventions.” When people experiencing chronic homelessness receive stable housing, they are less likely to use emergency departments, hospitals, detoxification facilities, and shelters, and are less likely to interact with law enforcement.

The decreased use of these expensive services is dramatic and results in savings. Often, cost savings equal or exceed the cost of permanent supportive housing. Existing studies radically underestimate the benefits. Most studies focus on just one or a few typical cost drivers associated with chronic homelessness, such as emergency services. No study accounts for the millions of dollars cities spend on sweeping encampments; the substantial costs for the entire criminal justice system process (from arrest through probation); the extraordinary demand for police and outreach services that do not result in issuing citations or criminal charges; the drag on each entity within the emergency response system (fire departments, EMTs, police, emergency rooms); the overtaxing of volunteers, members of the faith community, and community service providers; the clear economic impacts on local businesses, tourism, and travel; and the significant psychological and emotional tolls exacted from unsheltered people as well as the surrounding community.