The City of Bend is adjusting its budget to meet City Council goals after it were awarded $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The supplemental budget presented at the city council meeting on July 21 outlined a $13.1 million budget adjustment in total, with a lot of the funds going toward housing projects.
Several of the projects will help unhoused populations, like the exploration of an appropriate place for a managed camp. Some $1.5 million is expected to go towards finding a suitable location on city or county land and then managing these camps.
“We know broadly in Oregon that a managed camp—even a small one with 15 to 25 guests will cost between $300-$350,000 a year to run, so at $1.5 million we felt like we could do maybe three locations with 15 to 25 people for a year and a half,” said Carolyn Eagan, Recovery Strategy and Impact Officer for the City of Bend, at the council work session.
The City is in negotiations with Deschutes County to take on some of the costs while other solutions come to fruition. Another investment in facilities for unhoused people is the navigation center the City is seeking a partner for. So far 14 organizations have applied to manage the navigation center.
- City of Bend
- The Bend Value Inn will be converted into a shelter for unhoused people. The purchase and renovation was funded by Project Turnkey, a statewide program that has paid for the transformation of dozens of motels in Oregon.
Earlier in July the City of Bend’s application to Project Turnkey, a program that funds the purchase and renovation of motels into shelters, was approved. The supplemental budget anticipates the costs for maintaining that facility, as well as acquiring another property through Project Turnkey. Both properties would be run by partner agencies, but the City would be responsible for utilities, rent and site maintenance.
“We have funds that came in both for the acquisition and the renovation of the Bend Value Inn [through Turnkey] and additional ARPA funds that have come in or been allocated to the City of Bend for the acquisition of a second shelter. We’ll couple that with Local ARPA funds, City of Bend ARPA funds so that we can do the renovation and other operations that may be required at both of those locations so we can get them up and running,” Eagan said.
A middle housing program pilot will also be explored to promote different housing types to meet the demand across different incomes. It will be an expansion of the affordable housing program that promoted housing projects for people earning lower and middle incomes.
“Thinking about our affordable housing program expanding into a housing program both middle income housing, shelters, camps and other housing types we may not even know what are called yet will all be part of that program,” Eagan said.
Other housing funding will go toward additional City staff who will be necessary to permit new housing projects at a faster pace.
Another $5.6 million is being allocated for non-housing projects; $4.2 million is budgeted for the hiring of staff in both new positions and ones that were eliminated during COVID-19. An additional $1.2 million is being given to programs of “shared prosperity” that include utility assistance workforce development, childcare and community assistance for non-profits. The smallest change is in transportation and infrastructure, which is being given a $200,000 budget increase to for a north corridor pedestrian crossing near Robal Lane, and transportation maintenance.