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Ten million in grant dollars help to create resilience in Oregon communities - 04/10/24

(Salem) – Forest fires, heat domes, landslides, floods, drought, pandemics -- all natural disasters that kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of property and habitat each year. That’s why it’s important that each community builds up its resilience to these hazards. 

Now, there is help for Oregon’s many communities. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM) has a $10 million grant called the Resilience Hubs and Networks Grant to give out to eligible people and organizations. The funding comes from the 2023 Oregon Legislature to build resiliency within communities. 

This grant money is part of a long-term goal of having our communities create resiliency so they can prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. With this grant a community can design what they need to be resilient,” Ed Flick, OREM Director said.

Applicants could be just about anyone -- schools, cities, counties, non-profits, Tribes -- if they can show how the funding would benefit their community. We’d like to get grant dollars out to populations and areas of Oregon that are not as prepared for climate impacts. Many rural and frontier communities don’t have the tools and resources as larger cities,” Jenn Bosch, OREM Grants Program Administrator, said. 

"A Resilience Hub is a living, breathing part of the community already, such as a community center, a Boys and Girls Club, something that is part of their daily life, like a food bank. It’s place they would think to go to get help, such as shelter in an emergency. What they can apply for is very open,” Bosch said. 

The things people and groups could apply for includes almost anything that would build and strengthen the communities’ resilience, such as medical supplies, child care, emergency communications equipment, generators, training, water purification, vehicles and more. It also includes things communities can apply for called “typed packages.” These packages are those big containers often used for storage, called Conex boxes. OREM will pack the Conex containers with emergency supplies specific to sheltering in-place or enduring a disaster until further relief arrives, and OREM will deliver to that site. 

The network part of the grant is to help communities communicate and share resources more effectively. 

“The goal is to break down silos. Here’s an example of what this is - Government doesn’t generally set up shelters – it’s the churches, non-profits and community groups. But often they don’t know what the group down the street is doing. We’re asking them to work together to apply for the grant. Let’s say church is opening shelter but they don’t have food, but in working together with other community groups, they would then know the food bank might have food ready to supply to them,” Bosch said.  

Last July through December, Bosch with Spencer Karel, OREM Policy Chief, and partner in the grant process, traveled Oregon on a listening tour. They met in-person or virtually with more than 80 community groups, ODHS programs, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Energy and other state agencies. 

“We wanted to hear from them. It was an amazing opportunity to build the grant and really make it work for the communities. A Resiliency Hub in Grants Pass will look different than one in Wheeler, and those will also look different from one in Tillamook. We’re hopeful that the applications will reflect the broad need,” Bosch said. 

She stressed that applying for this grant is easy. The application is a like a survey that the applicant can fill in what they are requesting, with six essay questions. OREM is also partnering with Portland State University to assist applicants that need help completing their application. Information about this help can be found on the OREM website. 

“We want to make sure the people who generally don’t apply for or get grants feel like they have a fair opportunity to potentially receive a grant this time – small, rural, frontier areas especially,” she said. 

So far there are more than 65 applicants for the grant money. Applications close April 30. 

Just to sum up why this grant money to create resiliency is important for communities throughout Oregon, Bosch said, “It saves lives and saves money.” 

To learn more about the Resilience Hubs and Networks Grant and to find the application, visit: https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/emergency-management/Pages/resilience-grants.aspx.

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Oregon State Rehabilitation Council meets May 3 in Ontario and virtually on Zoom - 04/03/24

The Oregon State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meets May 3 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mountain Time (MT) in Ontario, with the option to attend virtually on Zoom. 

The council works to ensure Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is consumer driven and that available programs, services and resources result in competitive integrated employment. The agenda includes program updates from VR Director Keith Ozols, project updates, partner updates and progress reports from SRC committees. See the full agenda for details. 

All SRC meetings are open to the public, and the SRC invites feedback about people’s experience with VR. The agenda includes time for public comment at 9:15 a.m. MT. Public comment may be made during the meeting, with five minutes allotted per person. Comments may also be submitted in writing by April 26 to SRC Coordinator Kaire Downin at kaire.l.downin@odhs.oregon.gov.

Accommodation requests

Accommodations are available, including scheduling an interpreter and getting materials in alternative formats. Although every effort will be made to arrange accommodations with 48 hours’ notice, the SRC requests two weeks’ notice to ensure accommodations. Please contact SRC Coordinator Kaire Downin at kaire.l.downin@odhs.oregon.gov  or 971-707-8853 to request accommodations to attend the meeting or to get this announcement in an alternate format. 

Join the Zoom meeting

ZoomGov Meeting

Meeting ID: 160 177 6098

Passcode: 951969

 

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About Oregon’s State Rehabilitation Council:

Oregon’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is a group of consumers, advocates and representatives from business and the community with lived experience or expertise in disability awareness. Members are appointed by Oregon's Governor to advise the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program about how to best help Oregonians with disabilities achieve their career goals and employment potential. 

About Vocational Rehabilitation:

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), part of the Oregon Department of Human Services, helps Oregonians with disabilities get and keep jobs that match their skills, interests and abilities. VR staff work in partnership with community providers and businesses to develop employment opportunities and provide individualized services to each eligible person.