City continues to look at vets' housing issues
The city of Newberg may look into new options for affordable housing for veterans going forward, according to City Manager Joe Hannan.
Hannan said the city continues to try and build partnerships, either privately or with Housing Authority of Yamhill County (HAYC) projects, to address the issue of homelessness among veterans. He added that there is a specialized source of funding available to provide homeless veterans with housing the city has looked into.
"We've been talking to property owners to see if they're interested," he said.
One place the city has looked into is on Springbrook Road, where apartment units are being built. Hannan said there have been discussions about designating some of those as housing for veterans.
"Then we've gone to property owners," he said, adding there have been discussions with a number of owners about creating affordable housing for veterans.
HAYC provides vouchers for veterans housing and the city is trying to find a way to apply them to vets living in mobile home parks. Hannan said the Veterans Administration does not currently consider those living in a mobile home park to be homeless, even though there are veterans at risk of being kicked out of the mobile homes they live in within the city.
Hannan has identified housing as a major concern in Newberg. He previously met with the director of Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to help make a list of homeless veterans in the city and work to help them access Section 8 housing. There are 1,100 veterans in Newberg and more than 7,000 veterans in Yamhill County, Hannan said.
According to the 2018 Yamhill County Action Partnership homelessness count, 37 veterans were counted in 2018 as being literally homeless the night of the count. Thirteen of those were living in shelters, and 24 – including all four female veterans – were living unsheltered. In 2017, there were 33 homeless veterans counted.
The city has also looked to local churches to help provide affordable housing. While this wouldn't be specifically for veterans, Hannan has said if all churches built at least one home on their property dedicated to providing housing for someone in their congregation that would provide 30-plus units of affordable housing.