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City Council asked to increase homeless spending

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The City Council is poised to more than double the amount of money spent on homeless services this fiscal year under the Housing State of Emergency it declared last October.

This Wednesday the council will consider increasing the spending to just over $5 million in the fiscal year that ends on June 30.

The council originally approved $2.26 million for emergency shelters and other homeless services during its annual fall budget adjustment process. It used the money to open two temporary shelters and provide toilet and garbage service to a North Portland homeless camp, among other things.

This Wednesday the council will consider spending an additional $2.75 million on the shelters, camp and other services.

An ordinance prepared by the City Budget Office and introduced by Mayor Charlie Hales asks the council to transfer the funds to two city agencies. They are the Portland Housing Bureau, which is paying for temporary emergency shelters in a former armory in Southwest Portland a vacant downtown office building, and the Office of Management and Finance, which also providing trash collection and temporary toilets to homeless campsites.

The funds will come from a recent legal settlement with online travel companies over the collection of hotel and motel taxes, and payments owned the Portland Development Commission on several properties.

"The housing emergency requires additional funding in the current year for various property purchases, shelter costs, and other programmatic expenses totaling $2.75 million," reads the ordinance authorizing the transfer submitted by the City Budget Office. Housing emergency costs were previously estimated at $2.26 million.

Hales has promised the council will spend an additional $20 million on homeless serviced and affordable housing projects next year. The council has approved $10 million and Hales is asking city general fund agencies to proposed 5 percent budget to help raise the money.

You can read the Wednesday ordinance at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/567637.