SOREDI recently learned of a Disaster Recovery and Mitigation grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for seven counties in Oregon – those who suffered unfathomable housing and business losses due to the 2020 Labor Day Fires.
$422 million will be deployed over the next several years through the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) department to primarily assist in housing projects that serve low-to-moderate income residents and accompanying infrastructure. Read the full media release from OHCS here: https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/about-us/Documents/press/04-26-2022-CDBG-DR-Public-Comment-PR.pdf
The Oregon Disaster Recovery Factsheet, as published by OHCS articulated how funds from this HUD allocation could also be used for “economic revitalization programs – such as loans or grants to small business to help revive the local economy.”
As the region’s economic development district, that approved use certainly caught our attention and SOREDI proactively presented a proposal to OHCS for their consideration – after all, it is business that creates economic revitalization!
Jackson County suffered more than 50% of the wildfire losses. SOREDI suggested that 5% of the funding for our region be set aside for business help. Aside from a small privately funded Wildfire Recovery Fund that SOREDI established (about $100,000) there is no other financial resource currently available to help businesses recover and rebuild. To date SOREDI has received over 60 applications and collective requests for up to $500,000 from businesses impacted in our fire burn area.
Unfortunately, and much to our disappointment, OHCS determined not to include any funding opportunity for business assistance in their disaster recovery funding. Zero.
OHCS has published their Action Plan for this $422 million disaster recovery grants and is seeking public input. Several public hearings are also scheduled, including one here in Southern Oregon:
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Talent Community Center (Behind City Hall)
104 E. Main St., Talent
Doors open: 5 pm, Public hearing: 6 pm
In addition to providing comment in person, the public will be able to do so by e-mail, web form, phone, or mail. All comments must be submitted to OHCS no later than 11:59 p.m. June 1, 2022.
After the 30-day public comment period, feedback will be incorporated into the plan before OHCS submits it to HUD for review and approval. As required by HUD, OHCS will respond to all comments received. The state’s deadline to submit its Action Plan is June 8, 2022. The Oregon State Housing Stability Council, OHCS’ governing body, will review and approve the final Action Plan at its June 3 meeting.
SOREDI urges you to provide feedback to the OHCS Action Plan and advocate with us for meaningful financial resources through this HUD opportunity or otherwise, for business revitalization and economic recovery.
Colleen Padilla, Executive Director
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