May 14, 2021

Wyden, Merkley: Three Oregon Counties to Receive Housing Vouchers for Foster Youth

More than $62,000 will go to local collaborative efforts in Washington, Linn and Benton counties to prevent and end homelessness among youth aging out of foster care

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that three Oregon counties will receive more than $62,000 in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) vouchers to end and prevent homelessness among young adults aging out of foster care.

“Housing as a human right requires critical support to make that goal a reality for young Oregonians during the incredibly vulnerable transition from foster care to adulthood,” Wyden said. “Young people aging out of foster care oftentimes lack the built-in support structures that others may benefit from such as guidance on how to navigate housing applications, funds to cover first and last month’s rent, family members to act as guarantors for lease agreements, or access to year-round housing as part of higher education.”

“We can all agree that we want to live in a society where every human being has access to a safe, reliable roof over their head,” said Merkley. “Especially now, as we continue to grapple with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, let’s work together to strengthen our communities by putting affordable housing within reach. I’m grateful that these resources are headed to Washington, Linn, and Benton counties to help provide urgently needed housing assistance to Oregonians who were in our foster care system, and will continue to do all that I can to make sure all young people have a chance to make a good life for themselves.”

HUD’s Foster Youth to Independence Initiative collaborates with local housing authorities to provide housing assistance to people under 25 aging out of foster care who are at extreme risk of experiencing homelessness. Oregon counties that will receive vouchers from the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative are as follows:

  • Housing Authority of Washington County: $55,936
  • Linn-Benton Housing Authority: $6,807

“The Linn-Benton Housing Authority is very excited to receive the Foster Youth to Independence funding for our community,” said Donna Holt, Executive Director of the Linn Benton Housing Authority. “We plan to move quickly to get these funds into our communities to assist those who are suffering from the devastation of the public health crisis that is compounded by the housing emergency. We feel confident that working together with our amazing community partners, we can increase the success of these funds to help lessen the burden of the current housing crisis. On behalf of our community and community partners, I’d like to express my gratitude to Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for their efforts in getting these funds into our hard hit communities.”

“Young people aging out of foster care deserve a fighting chance at success, and that starts with a stable home,” said Kathryn Harrington, Chair of Washington County Commission. “As a child, I had the privilege of a foster sister living with us for one year and so understand all too well that houselessness and housing insecurity are systemic issues that often begin in childhood. These vouchers give us the unique opportunity to head off lifelong housing insecurity before it has a chance to take root. We thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for ensuring that folks in Washington County can get the financial support that they desperately need.”