A new Oregon Bill would pay homeless people $1,000 per month to spend with no restrictions KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Sunday, March 5, 2023

A new Oregon Bill would pay homeless people $1,000 per month to spend with no restrictions

Some Oregon lawmakers in the Portland Metro area want the state to hand out cash to people to help with the homeless crisis.

Sen. Wlnsvey Campos and Rep. Khanh Pham are chief sponsors of Senate Bill 603, which would give $1,000 a month in cash to 1,000 Oregon households on a trial basis — $25 million total.

Those who qualify would have to either be homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or struggling to pay rent – earning 60% below the median income – with a focus on seniors, families with children and homeless youth.

The money for housing assistance would come from taxpayers through the state’s general fund, and the Portland State University Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative would work on a trial basis to gauge its success, determining whether it should continue or be expanded.

“Rental assistance is not as readily available as we would like it to be, and I say that as someone who has worked as a case manager in the space to get folks into housing,” Campos said. The bill, introduced last month, would establish a People’s Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program to give 12 monthly thousand-dollar payments to those suffering from homelessness or who are on the brink of becoming homeless.

“Payments may be used for rent, emergency expenses, food, child care or other goods or services of the participant’s choosing,” the bill states. “We want to make sure that we are being accountable… that we are seeing where the dollars are going, so that’s why this is initially a pilot program,” Campos said.

PSU would come up with guidelines and monitor the impact, and the bill’s sponsors say the program has been tried in other cities around the country and has been successful in keeping people housed. People who spend more than 50 percent of their monthly household income on rent, and those who earn 60% or less of the area median income would also be eligible for the funding.

The legislation would also require the Portland State University Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative to study how effective the long-term cash assistance program would be across different demographics and household populations, as well as consider other circumstantial elements, such as domestic violence.

The state has been experiencing a long-lasting homeless issue for several years, especially in areas like Portland where up to 700 tent camps have taken over sections of the city.

The state has also been dealing with increased drug use and trafficking after it passed a law decriminalizing street drugs last year. The state Health Authority ruled that the legislation had “failed” just seven months after it went into effect.

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