Portland, OR. The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) is announcing that Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) has been selected to receive the first Project Turnkey grant of $4.2 million in state funds to purchase and transform a Super 8 hotel into the new OHRA Center. “The opportunity to acquire a Project Turnkey facility is a game-changer for our work with homeless individuals and families, including those displaced by the September 2020 wildfire,” said Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh pictured above. The hotel will become a 50-person shelter.

Many have been working to help those displaced by wildfires with meals.

Last fall, the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board allocated $65 million in state funding to purchase financially distressed motels across the state to deliver safe shelter in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires. OCF is administering the funds and convening a statewide community advisory committee to select qualified applicants to ‘Project Turnkey.’

“Last year’s wildfires were devastating. Many survivors lost everything,” Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said. “The Emergency Board stepped in with funding. That was just the first step. Now this project will give them a place to stay. I am happy to see Project Turnkey hard at work.”

Oregon Community Foundation OCF is managing and deploying grants in two waves: $30 million to fire-impacted communities and $35 million to communities throughout the state with an expressed need for safely-distanced shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Community-based organizations will apply for funding from OCF to acquire motels or hotels and operate the shelters. Long term, properties will convert to meet the future housing needs of the community, addressing the gap in transitional and affordable housing.

Oregon’s housing issues were already in crisis before the pandemic and wildfires hit.

OCF has been studying Oregon’s dual crises of homelessness and affordable housing, beginning with research commissioned from ECONorthwest, “Homelessness in Oregon” which provided a statewide analysis of a disproportionately large homeless population in Oregon.