Benton County Board of Commissioners have voted to include funding for a homelessness services facility in the County’s planned bond measure, to be put before voters in May 2023.
The Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP) is the County’s most comprehensive approach yet to determine how best to improve Benton County’s justice system and mental health services to be equitable, effective, and safe. A top priority has been listening to and receiving feedback from community members including a series of community forums, small group presentations, and surveys this fall. Following an October 18, 2022 report on the results of a second survey, the Benton County Board of Commissioners directed County staff to research and present options for the inclusion of funding to directly address homelessness in the bond measure.
Program manager Nick Kurth presented the Board with those options at a special Board meeting today. A set of criteria for inclusion in the bond measure was presented as well as five possible funding scenarios. Criteria included alignment with previously accepted facilities recommendations from the Homelessness, Opportunity, Planning and Equity (HOPE) Advisory Board and a project that has already started to engage community stakeholders. Funding from the bond would serve as a financial catalyst rather than a full project investment and would involve outside stakeholders, supporting partnerships and collaboration with the County.
After considering several options, the Board voted unanimously in support of including funding for homelessness services facilities with a preferred partner option of the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center’s (CDDC) homelessness resources and housing navigation center project. Staff and guests at CDDC have been working on a plan to scale up the current Daytime Drop-in Center as well as add a respite/emergency shelter component to the facility. Working alongside community partners, CDDC is poised to seek state funds like those provided through House Bill 2006, aimed at “funding a low-barrier emergency shelter that connects individuals and families with health services, permanent housing, and public benefits.” The center would also “house diverse agencies that provide services to shelter guests as well as the greater community.”
“The Drop-in Center is eager for this opportunity to increase support for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” shared Allison Hobgood, Executive Director of CDDC. “This expansion project opens up the possibility for new and powerful collaborations across public private partnerships. It also means forwarding a vision for CDDC growth that is being voiced by the guests we serve. I’m grateful for the positive reception CDDC’s navigation center project has already had in the community. So many folks in Benton County understand the need for increased support for people experiencing homelessness. Everyone wants to do something—together—about it. It’s really meaningful.”