The Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance, or “Alliance,” is a collaborative organization engaging in a communitywide commitment to coordinate, leverage, and align efforts and resources to prevent and end homelessness.
The Alliance’s purpose is executed through three main goals:
- Quickly rehousing homeless individuals, including unaccompanied youth and families, while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness;
- Promoting access to and effective utilization of mainstream housing and homeless services programs by homeless individuals; and
- Optimizing self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in December 2019 as the Marion-Polk region’s Continuum of Care, the Alliance does not provide direct services. Rather, it focuses on communitywide planning and coordination, e.g., aligning services, implementing a strategic plan, collecting and analyzing data, expanding participation in Coordinated Entry, and bringing chronic and Veteran homelessness to functional zero through Built for Zero system improvement strategies. The Alliance is also responsible for annually compiling a single community application for federal Continuum of Care dollars.
The federal Continuum of Care program began in 1994. The local program was coordinated by Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action until 2011, when a group of participating agencies decided to join 26 other counties in the Rural Oregon Continuum of Care.
In 2016, four local governments convened the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative, developing a region-wide strategic plan that included exploring the region’s CoC structure. In October 2018, the initiative assessed more than 550 community programs to identify gaps in services.
Leaders, recognizing the critical importance of addressing these local needs, championed reconstituting the two-county Salem/Marion-Polk CoC, OR-504 – this time with greater local government investment and engagement.
The Alliance is supported by the ORS 190 Entity, Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance, an intergovernmental organization which serves as the Collaborative Applicant for the annual funding application and is responsible for financial, legal, and other administrative functions.
*All photos in the slideshow above are property of Diane Beals. Find her on Instagram: @diane_beals2.