Oregon Community Foundation distributes millions as local partnerships seek tangible solutions to issue

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Oregon Community Foundation will provide a $3.9 million grant to purchase area motels for use as transitional housing, including one in Yamhill County.

Bringing together entities from around the county to address one of its most pressing issues, the Oregon Community Foundation announced June 22 that it would provide a $3.9 million grant to purchase area motels for use as transitional housing. These transitional units are intended to assist the homeless and housing insecure with temporary shelter while they seek employment, treatment or other forms of assistance.

The OCF selected Providence Health & Services to receive the Project Turnkey grant. With this money, Providence and local partner Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP) will team up to purchase and convert area motels into transitional housing units.

"These latest grants complete the allocation of the $65 million fund," a press release from OCF said. "All Project Turnkey funds are fully deployed, representing a total of 17 projects in 13 counties statewide and 800 new units of housing/non-congregate shelter."

With $3.9 million, YCAP and Providence can provide supportive services to guests at these temporary units in addition to shelter. The shelter itself will be based out of McMinnville, but welcome homeless and housing insecure people from throughout the county.PMG FILE PHOTO - Thanks to the grant, YCAP and Providence Newberg Medical Ceter can provide supportive services to guests at these temporary units in addition to shelter.

"We are excited to partner with YCAP and Oregon Community Foundation on addressing homelessness in our area as our mission calls for us to care for the poor and vulnerable," Father Chris Fabre, chief mission officer at Providence Newberg Medical Center, said in the release. "Addressing homelessness is a key priority for our ministry and this is one step in supporting that initiative."

Grant funds will be pooled together with funds from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) along with other money from area partners. Among those partners are local intergovernmental entities.

"YCAP's motel sheltering project has been phenomenally successful at keeping people safe and moving them on to permanent, stable housing," Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla said in the release. "The purchase of a motel through Project Turnkey is our community's opportunity to make this good work permanent, as we work toward a county where homelessness is brief and rare. Our most vulnerable residents will be safer and healthier because of this investment."PMG FILE PHOTO - In addition to providing shelter, benefits of the joint project will include access to food and mental health care for homeless individuals.

According to OCF, the project was selected due to significant support and outreach from throughout Yamhill County, but particularly in McMinnville.

"Oregon Community Foundation is thrilled to partner with Providence and YCAP on this innovative Project Turnkey effort to benefit the residents of Yamhill County," Jenn Columbus, regional director of the foundation, said in the release. "The community engagement strategy, enthusiasm to identify an appropriate facility, and key partners to secure additional funding demonstrate a clear commitment to finding supportive solutions here."

Benefits of the project are expected to include safe accommodations and support; essential supplies such as food boxes, clothing, hygiene items and more; assistance for those in crisis who are in need of a stable situation; and culturally specific services like case management, healthcare, mental healthcare, resource navigation and potential links to permanent housing opportunities.

This kind of work is right up YCAP's alley as one of the community's foremost nonprofits on the issue.

"It is an honor to be on the front end of Project Turnkey, spearheading critical work with Providence, OCF and our supportive community partners," Alexandra Hendgen, executive director of YCAP, said in the release. "This effort changes the landscape around homelessness in our community in a meaningful way, enacting resources that will make a difference in lives in this moment. Project Turnkey empowers the continuation of the YCAP non-congregate sheltering that has provided a strong path for Yamhill (County) individuals and families to step into stable, positive housing solutions."

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