The City is actively helping the homeless and working to reduce homelessness in Salem through the following programs:
Homeless Rental Assistance Program. Launched in July 2017, the City of Salem, through the Salem Housing Authority, has committed $2.1 million dollars to support the
Homeless Rental Assistance Program.
HRAP links chronically homeless individuals to housing, food, furnishings, and social services. As of January 2020, HRAP has housed more than 260 individuals. Since its inception,
the largest Housing First program in Oregon has an 83% success rate. Chronically homeless individuals often deal with untreated mental illness, addiction, and chronic health conditions worsened by long periods of homelessness. In addition, some face preexisting barriers to housing, such as criminal history, evictions, and poor rental history. The HRAP combines rental assistance, intensive case management, and funding to reduce these and other barriers to success. Success is to stabilize into housing and through a Section 8 voucher for long-term housing stability.
In November 2019, Salem Housing Authority was awarded
more than $450,000 in rental vouchers to house very-low Income residents with disabilities. Vouchers pay private landlords the difference between what a low-income household can afford and the fair market rent. The vouchers are targeted to persons with disabilities, particularly those who are transitioning out of institutional or other separated settings; at serious risk of institutionalization; currently experiencing homelessness; previously experienced homelessness and currently a client in a permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing project; or at risk of becoming homeless.
Several implementation items that came out of the Downtown Homeless Solutions Task Force are occurring at ARCHES. These include expanded day room space, showers, 24/7 restroom facilities, laundry, and storage. Under construction now, the new space is expected to open in mid-2020.
ARCHES staff, HomeBase Shelters of Salem, and volunteers from the homeless community, have developed a Pocket Guide for Homeless in Salem that is by the homeless for the homeless. This compact, foldable handout identifies resources, service providers, and meal locations, and is a new, excellent tool for the homeless community as well as downtown businesses. Additionally, ARCHES staff and volunteers are performing daily morning walk-throughs of the downtown corridor to route overnight campers (on sidewalks, in alleyways, in doorways) to service providers (ARCHES/HOAP/UGM).
Through United Way, Safe Sleep Salem opened in Fall 2019 with 10 shelter beds for women in our community. Following the City’s declaration of a housing emergency, Safe Sleep Salem was able to expand to 19 shelter beds. The United Way has funded a Mobile Hygiene Unit, operated by ARCHES. The unit goes to areas with a high density of unsheltered populations to provide basic need services.
Union Gospel Mission
A new site at 700-800 Commercial St NE and 253-275 Division St NE is under construction and a Riverfront Downtown Urban Renewal Area grant was issued in June 2019 for this project. The new site will expand UGM dining capacity from 72 to 232 seats and 220,000 meals annually (a 36% increase). It will also increase shelter capacity from 150 to 300 beds (116% increase in annual nights of shelter). It will also include recovery and education services..
Police behavioral health detachments
The Salem Police Department has officers who are specially trained to help people experiencing a mental health crisis. These officers also work with agencies in both Marion and Polk Counties.
The City of Salem partners with the City of Keizer to receive and distribute federal grants that fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership. These grants also providing direct rental assistance to low-income people.
The City of Salem has
programs to assist with utility and sewer bills, and awards roughly $400,000 each year in grants to local non-profits that provide emergency or essential services to the most vulnerable populations with the highest need.
2-1-1 Information and referral service
2-1-1 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline to connect people of all ages to financial, domestic, health, or disaster-related services. These services are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Grants for vulnerable populations
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). CDBG awards from the City go to local non-profits that provide emergency or essential services to the most vulnerable populations with the highest need.
HOME Investment Partnership Program. The
HOME Program provides formula grants that communities use (often in partnership with local nonprofit groups) to fund a wide range of activities including building, buying, and/or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent, homeownership, or providing direct rental assistance to low-income people.
City of Salem. Another $400,000 is awarded annually from the City of Salem to organizations providing critical services to those in need in our community.
Grants for 2018 and 2019 include:
Willamette Neighborhood Housing Nueva Luz affordable housing apartments
Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network tenant-based rental assistance
Salem Housing Authority security deposit assistance
Center for Hope and Safety
Congregations Helping People interim housing support
Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency warming center network support
WestCare veterans housing facility upgrades
Integrated support for Living Fisher/Sizemore apartments
MERIT Microenterprise program
Northwest Human Services crisis and information hotline
Saint Francis Shelter case management
Women at the Well Grace House
Northwest Human Services HOST Youth Center
Marion Polk Food Share emergency food procurement
Marion-Polk Food Share
Food assistance provided through Marion-Polk Food Share and other communmity organizations helps those in our community who often have to choose between rent and groceries.
Continuum of Care
Marion and Polk counties and a number of non-profit organizations and cities in the two counties have established a local Continuum of Care to end and prevent homelessness. Known as the Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance, more than 50 agencies are working together to improve service delivery, coordination, and data gathering, with the dual goals of better meeting the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and securing additional federal funds to provide more homelessness services. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the Marion/Polk Continuum of Care.
Downtown Homeless Solutions Task Force
The Task Force included City leaders, business owners, service providers, property owners, residents, and advocates for the homeless. They worked together to identify specific, measurable, time-bound solutions to make downtown Salem inviting and welcoming to all Salem residents and visitors. The Task Force completed its work by developing a number of recommendations the summer of 2018. An
implementation plan was presented to Council at a work session in