Oregon Housing and Community Services is now accepting proposals for $20 million in state funds to develop mental health and substance use housing across Oregon.
Affordable housing is in short supply particularly for people living with mental illness and addictions. The $20 million boost can definitely make a difference.
“The money is there. Go find your partners, and go get it,” Chris Bouneff, executive director of NAMI Oregon told The Lund Report. Such housing is desperately needed all across Oregon. “Our hope is that as many communities as can will apply.”
During the 2015 legislative session, securing incentive funding for mental health housing, including crisis respite, was NAMI’s top priority. Oregon started with $5 million from an additional cigarette tax to leverage dollars for such housing development.
Because this early funding showed the concept worked, the state is making $20 million available, again hoping to leverage state dollars to encourage housing developers and mental health providers and advocates to build a range of housing options.
The original $5 million provided incentives to get $20-$25 million of housing for those with mental illness. Bouneff hopes the $20 million can pay for 20-30 percent of future projects, spurring another $50 million to $75 million in new housing.
Applications are due by August 29. Details are available on the Oregon Housing and Community Services website.