Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA)
Community Resource Program (CRP) Highlights
Hotel Shelter Program
During the COVID crisis, MWVCAA has been placing unsheltered households into hotels throughout Marion and Polk County (largely in Salem) to help prevent disease transmission. Households may be referred from a partner agency, or self-referral through Coordinated Entry. The primary population assisted is individuals with specific underlying health conditions as specified by the CDC. Resulting in them being high risk. In this instance, the hotel program is acting as a prevention measure through isolation. The second group is unsheltered individuals who have either tested positive for COVID, are pending a COVID test result, or are symptomatic and are unable to receive a test. This group is quarantined in a separate hotel to prevent transmission within the population. Funding was made available by Oregon Housing and Community Services, as well as the local Coordinated Care Organization – Pacific Source.
To assist in the program, key partnerships have been established to provide adequate food distribution, medical services (telehealth and COVID testing), care management, as well as financial support. As of June 1, 2020 – 140 households (totaling 183 adults, and 47 children) have been enrolled. Totaling more than 5,000 bed nights over the course of this 12 week program.
Homeless Prevention/ Rent Relief Program
In response to COVID, MWVCAA has designed a robust prevention platform. Where households who have been impacted by COVID (i.e loss of employment, sickness, etc) will be eligible to receive a one-time rental and/or utility assistance to help re-stabilize after the pandemic. MWVCAA anticipates a large increase in prevention requests and has opened multiple access points within Marion and Polk County, including: CRP, Santiam Outreach Center (SOCC), Polk CDC – Dallas, Love Inc. – Woodburn, Sheltering Silverton – Silverton.
Funding for the prevention program is provided by a variety of state and federal sources. All aimed at helping Oregonians to stay in their homes as a result of COVID closures and rebuild stability within the community. Sources include: Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) – Rent Relief funds, OHCS – Emergency Solutions Grant, and OHCS – Community Service Block grant. In all, CRP anticipates roughly 1.5 million dollars in direct client service.
To access this assistance, households are encouraged to call 503-399-9080 ext 4003 to speak with a Coordinated Entry representative. From there, a Housing Assessment will be conducted. Upon completion the household is referred to a member of our Prevention team for processing. Team members work with the household to determine eligibility and facilitate bill payment. Work can be conducted remotely or at any of our partner locations. Specialized systems have been put into place for particular sub-populations, such as: Veterans, Spanish speaking households, and families.
During COVID -19, MWVCAA is reinforcing the mantra, “bring the services to them”. Whereby outreach workers visit Wallace and Cascade Gateway park encampments in Salem, OR to check on the welfare of the unsheltered population. To aid in the work, new outreach workers have been added to the team. This has facilitated complete area coverage, as well as working alongside community partners. Since March, over 250 sleeping bags, 200 tents, 150 tarps, and various other camping supplies have been distributed.
Food insecurity has been a notable issue as meal sites close due to gathering restrictions. As a result, MWVCAA brought area partners together to establish stronger and coordinated efforts. These new systems focus on filling service gaps, and most importantly increased access to hot meals and food boxes. In addition, collaborative events have been hosted within the camps, bringing housing assessments, basic need supports, COVID testing, and medical care.