REDMOND, OR -- Housing Works, Central Oregon's regional housing authority, was recently granted Family Unification Program vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The federal funding will be used to help local families pay for adequate housing.
Housing Works' Lesly Gonzalez says grant approval has been a long time in coming, "It has been almost 10 years! So, being able to have 29 Family Unification vouchers in our community, that's a big thing for Central Oregon." She tells KBND News these particular HUD vouchers are for those needing family unification, "The vouchers come with services. And there's a preference that's going to be for these particular vouchers, for those that are coming out of foster care. It's also for parents that are struggling to find adequate housing for their children." Housing Works will partner with the Department of Human Services, NeighborImpact, J Bar J Youth Services, and the Central Oregon Continuum of Care to provide services to voucher recipients.
Gonzalez says the funding wasn't easy to secure, "This was a very competitive process, there's only about 61 agencies out of the entire U.S. that were selected for them." But, she says, it's worth it, "We're excited that we got these vouchers, and we're very excited to be able to issue them in 2019." She adds, "Since the market is getting a little better, we're hoping that we can house these families as soon as possible."
Housing Works will issue the new vouchers in early 2019, once it receives further guidance from HUD. Recipients will be determined based on applications submitted to the general wait list, "Our general wait list opens up once a year," says Gonzalez, "January 14-18 will be the next time; and we'll take online applications at that time."