Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) recently awarded $7.5 million in funding toward developing housing for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness in the state’s rural communities.

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The funding was allocated through the Homeless Housing Response and Capacity Strengthening Notice of Funding Availability and is the first award of a one-time $25 million HOME American Rescue Plan federal investment, according to state officials.

“Strengthening local organizations and expanding housing opportunity in rural communities are essential in advancing real progress for people experiencing homelessness,” says OHCS director Andrea Bell. “They are a foundation upon which we create a future where every individual has a place to call home.”

The $7.5 million award went to Liberty Village Apartments located in Hermiston, which will focus on veterans at risk of homelessness. This property is being built by Umatilla County Housing Authority and Casa of Oregon. Liberty Village Apartments will feature 17 homes—15 with rental assistance—primarily affordable at 30% median family income.

OHCS also reported reserving $1.5 million to provide rural housing organizations with funding to increase their capacity to address housing needs in their communities. The state agency recently received applications from a tribal nation, a local government, two public housing authorities, and three nonprofit organizations. They are:

· Burns Paiute Tribe;

· Malheur and Harney County Housing Authorities;

· Clatsop Community Action;

· Community Services Consortium (Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties);

· Coos-Curry Housing Authorities/city of North Bend

· Peace at Home Advocacy Center (Douglas County); and

· Columbia Cascade Housing Corp. (Hood River, Wasco, Sherman counties)