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Published on April 19, 2024
Multnomah County Secures Housing for Asylum Seekers, Chair Vega Pederson Urges Statewide ActionSource: Multnomah County

In a compassionate push to bolster support for those seeking refuge, Multnomah County has managed to secure an extension on temporary housing for 80 asylum seekers at risk of homelessness until May 31st, Chair Jessica Vega Pederson announced, demonstrating a continued commitment to providing shelter beyond the original cutoff in April.

The extension comes without additional cost to taxpayers, as the same $55,000 allocated from the Chair's office’s internal funds this month has been stretched further through a deal with a local motel to house these individuals and families at a reduced rate, a shrewd negotiation that fosters community and government collaboration.

This initiative isn't solely a county-level endeavor, data from a news release by Multnomah County states that Chair Vega Pederson is set to meet with Governor Tina Kotek’s office to deliberate the formation of a collaborative and expedient statewide response team aimed at not just temporarily alleviating this current crisis but also at preparing resources to assist the anticipated influx of new arrivals.

Local organizations such as IMIrJ, Centro Cultural, and the Asylum Seeker Solidarity Collective have praised the County's efforts, underscored by their collective statement emphasizing the critical need for a housing system that is inclusive and adaptable to various challenges, stating, "Housing is complex, and it is important to make this system accessible to anyone, regardless of the structural and personal barriers they may face." These advocates endorse the synergistic approach that includes governmental, non-profit, and community sectors all contributing to a more sustainable and supportive infrastructure for asylum seekers.

Addressing the situation with a palpable sense of urgency, Vega Pederson has advocated for comprehensive participation stating, "It remains true that Multnomah County cannot solve this alone," she emphasized the crucial role of the state government in her call to action, "We need all of our partners at the table, and I call on the state to do their part – including urgency in convening key stakeholders." This statement not only solidifies her dedication to the cause but also serves as a summons to her peers in positions of power to rise to the occasion. The collective effort hopes to forge a path of sanctuary and stability for those seeking asylum within the folds of Oregon's embrace.