Funding for a Roseburg homeless shelter sailed through the Oregon House Thursday on a unanimous bipartisan vote.
The $1.5 million shelter is included in House Bill 5042, a budget re-balancing measure for 2019-21. The bill next goes to the Senate for its approval, after which it would need the signature of Gov. Kate Brown.
The bill includes about $300 million in investments, including funding for summer learning and childcare, emergency shelters and wildfire recovery.
That includes $18 million for six shelters across the state. The others would be in Eugene, Salem, Bend, Medford and McMinnville.
The shelters, called navigation centers, would be low barrier shelters open seven days a week and include showers, mail service, and connections to help veterans obtain health services, permanent housing and public benefits.
If the budget bill passes, a Roseburg shelter could be up and running by July 2022.
Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, worked with Kotek and with Roseburg city officials to ensure the inclusion of Roseburg’s shelter in the package.
"I'm excited that after years of work, the state is recognizing the complexity of the shelter challenge," Leif said in an email.
"The ability of Roseburg to participate in this new approach to an old problem is the result of hard work on the part of many local leaders. This is the first step in building a new and sustainable approach to people who need the services of a shelter facility," he said.
More than $5 million in wildfire recovery funding is included in the bill as well, and the House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery is tasked with working on further legislation to help communities that suffered the effects of last year’s wildfires.
House Speaker Tina Kotek said in a press release that the funds included in the budget measure are among Oregon’s most urgent needs.
“Oregonians are depending on this essential aid,” Kotek said. “We’ve spent the last year responding to crisis after crisis. As our state continues to recover from the many challenges 2020 brought, this funding package will make urgent investments to help Oregonians who are truly hurting.”
House Bill 2006, a companion bill which lays out the policies for the navigation centers is scheduled to be up for a vote in the House next week.