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Medford is Growing...What is being done about it?

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Dear Shanon, What is being done about the growing population?

The City has been working very hard to respond to, as well as proactively address the needs of our community and our growing population. Medford is an entitlement community receiving annual grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The grant funds are allocated annually based on the goals, objectives, and strategies documented in the 2015-19 Consolidated Plan.

The Consolidated Plan is a comprehensive planning document that identifies the City’s overall housing and community development needs for assisting low- to moderate-income (LMI) persons and families and provides a framework for annual decisions on the use of CDBG funds.

The 2018/19 Action Plan outlines specific projects, programs, and administrative and planning activities that can help increase and improve affordable housing, revitalize neighborhoods and provide public services to Medford residents. These plans outline the City’s past performance and relevant actions to address homelessness, increase affordable housing and reduce blighted properties during the one year July 1, 2018- Junto e 30to, 2019.

1. Homelessness: Rising need; combined with concerns relating to the number of homeless service providers participating in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), declining Continuum of Care (CoC) funds, and deficient housing for households earning ≤30% Area Median Income (AMI), prompted prioritization of homelessness. As defined by HUD (2015), the City interprets “ending homelessness” as putting in place a systematic response that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible or is otherwise a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience. A delayed regional response to addressing homelessness through systemization inspired the City to continue its efforts to champion the cause.

2. Affordable Housing: In February 2018, Medford City Council adopted a Construction Excise Tax (CET) effective upon the acknowledgment of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansion. The City gained state approval for the UGB expansion in May 2018! The expansion adds 1,032 acres of residential, 637 employment, and 1,877 wildland parks. CET revenues will fund programs and incentives for the development of housing that is affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent, and up to 120 percent of the AMI. Increasing Medford’s buildable land inventory and implementing a revenue stream for development will undoubtedly address two notable affordable housing barriers.

3. Blighted Unsafe Properties: The City continues to address blighted and foreclosed properties through its Receivership Program and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The Receivership Program brought 36 of 42 targeted properties into compliance and sparked public/private partnerships that will result in nine new housing units; while NSP provided over $700,000 for the purchase and redevelopment of three foreclosed homes.

To appropriately execute the plan, the following needs of our community were identified:

· Transitional Housing/Vocational Rehabilitation

· Employment/Job Training/Workforce Readiness

· Mental Health/Substance Abuse/Health Services

· Minor/Major/Emergency Home Improvements

· Youth Services/Centers

· Public Infrastructure

· Affordable Housing Development for Owner/Rental

· Community Facilities/Parks & Recreation

· Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

· Code Enforcement

· Homeless Prevention/Facilities/Emergency Shelter/Services

· Emergency Assistance/Operations/Services

· Fair Housing/Legal Services

· Senior Center/Disabled Services

Below are the recipients of the 2018-2019 CDBG program.

· Rogue Valley Youth for Christ Acquisition & Rehabilitation of Real Property

o, Acquire 11 Almond St. to convert the building into a dormitory-style transitional housing complex and vocational training facility for homeless and at-risk youth.

· Compass House Property Renovation

o, Renovate a historic building to create a career center expanding services to address Employment/Job Training, Education, Workforce Readiness, Mental Health/Disability Services, Substance abuse,e, and Homeless Prevention.

· Housing Authority of Jackson County Homeowner Repair Program-2017 & 2018

o, Provide zero-interest, deferred loans to LMI homeowners for the correction of recognized home hazards to health and safety. Loans are secured by a lien on the property with repayment due upon sale or transfer of property by the owner(s).

· Rogue Valley Youth for Christ Public Facility Rehabilitation

o, Lease the property to request a conditional use permit to purchase the property and convert the existing structure to a multi-use community center focusing on serving the kids and families in the high-risk neighborhoods surrounding the facility. CDBG funds will be used to rehabilitate the building.

· Housing Authority of Jackson County Newbridge Place

o, Construct off-site public infrastructure improvements for required transportation connections supporting the construction of a 64-unit affordable housing complex.

· Medford Senior Center Facility Improvement

o Undergo asbestos testing and potential abatement, and complete a formal ADA assessment and improvements as identified as a priority through assessment.

· Children’s Advocacy Center Porch Replacement

o Address safety concerns of the facility’s entry porch through repair and upgrade to ADA standards.

· City of Medford Code Enforcement of Blighted Properties

o Medford Code Enforcement and Building Safety divisions will jointly address code violations of blighted unsafe properties.

· St. Vincent De Paul – Reducing Medford Homelessness in 2018

o, Provide emergency rental assistance to low-income residents to secure and maintain affordable rental housing. Assistance includes 12 months of mentorship services to help participants avoid first-time or re-occurring homelessness.

· Maslow Project – Safety Net & Case Management Services for Homeless Youth & Families

o, Provide youth (ages 0-21) and families with intensive, integrated support services. All services are aimed at assisting homeless youth and families reach stability and progress toward self-sufficiency.

· Hearts with a Mission – Shelter & Extended After Care

o, Provide emergency sheltering and aftercare options to help stabilize youth in crisis while decreasing the possibility of victimization. Once crises are stabilized, services focus on therapeutic support, education, and strategic intervention that attend to the individualized needs.

· Center for Nonprofit Legal Services – Furthering Fair Housing in Medford

o Provide Fair Housing education and outreach services, and offer legal advice and representation to eligible residents dealing with housing-related legal matters.

· Community Volunteer Network – Foster Grandparent Program

o, Match senior volunteers with children being served in local non-profits, public schools, after-school youth facilities, and Head Start centers to provide one-on-one tutoring and guidance at critical times in the children’s lives.

Big thanks to all participating members, as the Dalai Lama says, “Even if only a few individuals try to create mental peace and happiness within themselves, and act responsibly and kind-heartedly towards others, they will have a positive influence in their community.” Congratulations and thank you for your service!

Funding allocations and technical assistance during the 2018/2019 CDBG program year are primarily focused on improving access to essential safety-net services for the underserved, increasing opportunities for housing development, and reducing blight and homelessness in Medford. Obstacles to addressing underserved needs are hovering around the lack of housing of all types.

Medford is Growing...What is being done about it?

Shanon Pewtress - Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon

Shanon Pewtress

Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon

Published East Medford Life Magazine - January 2021

Shanon holds an MBA in International Business, loves writing in her “At Home with Shanon” column that has been delivered to 47,000+ homes in Medford since 2014, has appeared on the Real Estate Radio Show, and was also featured on A&E TV network’s Real Estate Reality TV show.

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