U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have announced that 28 counties, including Columbia County, and two cities in Oregon will receive more than $19 million in emergency housing vouchers through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Columbia County's share of the funding comes through the Northwest Housing Authority, which is slated to receive $752,652.

Housing Funds

Columbia County will share in more than $19 million in emergency federal housing funds through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Every single Oregonian deserves an affordable and accessible place to call home,” Wyden said. “The economic fallout from the global pandemic has worsened a statewide housing shortage and affordability crisis. These vouchers give local housing authorities critical tools to provide Oregonians with the stability they need to build a life where they can thrive.”

“It’s impossible to thrive without a safe and affordable roof over your head," Merkley said. "I’ve been pushing for strong responses to meet the housing crisis so many are families are facing, and that have become even more dire during the pandemic, and these grants are a good piece of the solution. I will continue to do all I can to secure the resources we need to weather this pandemic and make sure all of Oregon's families have a home they can afford."

The emergency housing vouchers are provided to assist individuals and families who are recently homeless, at risk of homelessness, experiencing long-term homelessness, or fleeing (or attempting to flee) intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, according to a release from Merkley and Wyden.

The American Rescue Plan Act that Wyden and Merkley both voted to support this year allocated emergency housing vouchers to public housing authorities on the basis of population, need, and geographic diversity.

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued vouchers to 626 public housing authorities, for a grand total of $1.14 billion in grants.

“We appreciate Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden's support for the Emergency Housing Vouchers as part of the American Recovery Plan,” Mid-Columbia Housing Authority Executive Director Joel Madsen said. “This is an investment in housing stability for some of our most vulnerable community members seeking an affordable place to call home. "

Accodring to Madsen, prior to the pandemic, housing security and affordable was already out of reach for all too many. 

"As we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 and focus on more equitable opportunities we need investments like this that advance public private partnerships and leverage existing resources," Madsen said. "Thank you to our great Senators for helping to prioritize federal investments in affordable housing solutions.”

See the Oregon recipients list attached.

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