In what is considered a historic investment in homeless and housing solutions, the Bend City Council intends to allocate roughly $6 million of the $7 million it received in American Rescue Plan funding from the federal government to support projects including affordable housing and managed homeless camps.
On Wednesday, the council supported recommendations from city staff for a $13.1 million budget “adjustment,” which includes $6 million from the American Rescue Plan COVID-19 relief act.
The American Rescue Plan funding is only half of the money that was awarded to the city from the federal government.
The other half will be given to the city next year.
The other $7 million in the budget adjustment comes from a variety of sources, including state funding and city reserve funds, according to city Chief Financial Officer Sharon Wojda.
About $1 million comes from interfund transfers, which means a certain amount of money will be transferred from several city departments to communally support the cost of new staff positions.
This proposed budget adjustment includes $7.5 million to pay for a navigation center for homeless residents, renovation costs for turning the Bend Value Inn into a homeless shelter, and additional funding to help cover the costs of proposed affordable housing projects in Bend.
About $3 million of this is from American Rescue Plan funding.
About $1.5 million is proposed to be used to create one or more managed homeless camps within the city, according to a presentation from the city Wednesday night.
The goal would be to create about three camps around the city and run them for about a year and a half, said Carolyn Eagan, the city’s economic development director, during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
Another $4.2 million is proposed to add staff to help with processing building permits, community relations and a cyber security person, according to a presentation from the city.
About $1 million of this money would go toward filling positions that the city left vacant last year as a way to save money when the pandemic hit and caused economic uncertainty.
Other recommendations include $1.2 million to go toward utility assistance, child care, nonprofits and a more robust effort to plan for the future of downtown.
About $200,000 is also allocated for transportation maintenance.
The council will formally vote on this budget allocation at its Aug. 18 meeting.