The Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative began as a collaborative effort among the cities of Salem and Keizer and Marion and Polk counties. A task force and eight subcommittees worked diligently during 2016-17 on a strategic plan to identify and launch proven strategies that will reduce homelessness in the Marion-Polk county region, encompassing the cities of Keizer and Salem. Task force members included business and community leaders with expertise in social services, housing, public safety, and business.
The initiative’s strategic plan addresses issues in cities and counties; lack of affordable housing; best practices for reducing chronic homelessness; specialized service for veterans, seniors, victims of domestic violence, and runaway and homeless youth; and coordination of available support and education services. Contributing factors such as mental illness, addiction, lack of education and the need for transportation are also addressed.
Marion County, Salem, Keizer, Monmouth and Independence came together to fund a coordinator position through the MWVCOG to continue to research and gather information from a regional perspective to help better inform the participating jurisdictions around the topic of homelessness. The work of the program coordinator is guided by the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Steering Committee, comprised of a representative from each of the five funding jurisdictions. For information on the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Task Force, click here.