Gov. Kotek extends homeless emergency order, helping new shelters stay open

By Roman Battaglia (Jefferson Public Radio)
Jan. 10, 2024 10:26 p.m.

On Tuesday, Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek extended the state’s homelessness emergency that she enacted a year ago, following her inauguration. The extension will allow some new homeless shelters to remain open.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signs two emergency orders related to homelessness on January 9, 2024.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signs two emergency orders related to homelessness on January 9, 2024.

State of Oregon


Kotek said the state exceeded all the goals it set out last year to reduce the number of people on the streets. According to Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state added 1,032 new low-barrier shelter beds, exceeding the original goal of 600. It also rehoused 1,293 families experiencing homelessness and prevented 8,886 families from becoming homeless in the first place.

Kotek said extending the emergency order will allow them to keep the momentum going for recently opened shelters, including one in Ashland.

“I think there is agreement across the state for all the communities who’ve been stepping up with this emergency order that we have work to do, that we are still in a crisis situation,” Kotek said.


Ashland was on the verge of shutting down its emergency shelter that opened last November. Mayor Tonya Graham said the city was in touch with the governor to ensure the shelter could stay open.

“We know that we are not the only community that’s experiencing a homelessness crisis,” Graham said. “And we are only able to move forward with these programs with the state’s support and ongoing partnerships.”

The funding will also help new shelters in Portland continue to operate, including the city’s mass shelter sites that began opening last July. According to the Daily Courier, shelters in Medford have also received funding to help continue operations.

Additional state funding means the Ashland shelter won’t close until the end of March. After that, Graham said the building will continue to operate as a severe weather shelter. The future of the low-barrier shelter is still being discussed since the city would have to renovate the building to comply with code requirements.

Kotek said keeping the shelters open is important as a part of the transition to getting people off the streets. The state legislature appropriated millions of dollars in extra funding last year to support shelter operations throughout the state.

A representative from Oregon Housing and Community Services said state funding should ensure that no shelters opened under the emergency order will have to close their doors.

Kotek said new goals will be set based on the needs of local communities, and will be announced by the end of February.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas here. We have to continue to do what we’re doing,” she said.