Polk County, in coordination with the cities of Dallas, Falls City, Independence, Monmouth, Willamina, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, applied for and received a $1 million grant from the State of Oregon to establish a coordinated homeless response office. The focus of this office is to prevent Polk County community members from falling into homelessness.

What This Means

Polk County will:

1. Create an Advisory Board with representation from each city/county/tribe.
2. Establish a centralized point of contact for the response office.
3. Hire the necessary staff for the office.
4. Support community outreach and policy development, including stipends for people with current or recent lived experiences of homelessness.
5. Acquire technical assistance and capacity building, including contracting with consultants.

Polk County is the lead organization and will employ the necessary employees for the coordinated homeless response office.

The expected end result of this pilot program is the adoption of a 5-year strategic plan by Polk County that identifies, among other things, funding to support the ongoing operations, increasing or streamlining resources and services to people at risk of homelessness within the participating cities (Independence community members will receive these services because the City Council authorized the City’s participation), and creating pathways to permanent and supportive housing that is affordable to those at risk of homelessness.

The City of Independence has NOT allocated any funding for this project, but staff is participating in the meetings and providing representation for the City.

The required uses for the funding do NOT provide homeless shelters, and during the meetings, there have been no discussions of any type of homeless shelter being built or sited within the City of Independence.

For more information on the current State laws and considerations for the City on homelessness, read the presentation from our city attorney here: https://bit.ly/3puWDDy