July 08, 2021

Oregon Community Foundation Wraps Up Project Turnkey, Adding Nearly 900 Units of Emergency Housing

Alma Alvarez and her three children were among the first families to move into the Redwood Inn, a Project Turnkey site in Medford. Film still by Brandom Yadegari Moreno.

OCF announced today that Project Turnkey, for which the foundation has served as the administrator and fiduciary, successfully wrapped up on deadline with 19 total properties throughout 13 Oregon counties, adding nearly 900 beds/units of emergency housing. 

The latest Project Turnkey grants announced today came through additional funding of $9.7 million approved by the Oregon Legislature and signed by Governor Kate Brown on June 25, 2021, bringing the Project Turnkey funding total to $74.7 million.

“Legislators and community leaders stepped up to cut through bureaucratic hurdles and take fast action to meet urgent sheltering needs in  communities across Oregon,” said Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. “I’m deeply appreciative of this collaboration. Hundreds in need of shelter will be able to find a safe place to stay because of this innovative program.”

Project Turnkey represents about a 20 percent increase in the state's supply of emergency year-round shelter beds for people experiencing  homelessness, accelerating what might normally be a multi-year real estate development process into less than eight months.

“Project Turnkey reflects an enormous and collaborative statewide effort to quickly deploy an innovative solution for a complex set of challenges for communities facing increased houseless impacts,” said Max Williams, President and CEO, Oregon Community Foundation. “We were honored to partner with so many to see this project deliver much-needed support to communities across the state.”

What’s Next

The Project Turnkey Community Advisory Committee will officially conclude the project soon by reviewing insights and sharing key learnings included in a comprehensive report that OCF will deliver to the Oregon Legislature in early August, 2021.

“It is a rare and wonderful thing to have a committee as engaged and dedicated as this one,” said Megan Loeb, Program Officer, Oregon Community Foundation, speaking of the Advisory Committee of diverse stakeholders that provided review and recommendation for all grants. “They have continuously centered community as well as equity in this work, and we are so grateful for their important contributions to Project Turnkey.”

Project Turnkey successfully increased the state’s supply of emergent housing by 20 percent through acquisitions of shelter properties in 19 Oregon communities across 13 counties. Each Project Turnkey operation is locally created, owned and operated by local government and/or nonprofit community partners. Each Project Turnkey operation is designed to meet the needs of its community’s priority populations, ranging from fire survivors to domestic violence survivors to Veterans to people experiencing chronic homelessness.

“Often, government says ‘We know the solution.’ In truth, the community living the experience and walking through it daily know best what is needed,” said Will Miller, Government Affairs Manager, Native American Youth and Family Center, and Project Turnkey Advisory Committee member. “This example of the Oregon Legislature trusting OCF and the Advisory Committee with decision-making power to get these dollars out the door, to community members, is a really big lesson for our state and hopefully a model for the federal government as well.”

Oregon Community Foundation offers support for Oregon’s housing needs along a continuum — from shelter to supportive housing to affordable housing to equitable home ownership — through a variety of tools, including research, grants, advocacy, and low-interest loans. OCF’s administration of Project Turnkey is one example of the innovative, collaborative approaches launched to help more Oregonians find stable, affordable housing.

About Project Turnkey

The Oregon Legislature allocated $65 million initially for Project Turnkey for the purpose of acquiring motels/hotels for use as non-congregate shelter for people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness. Two discrete funds were provided by the state: one totaling $30 million to be awarded in counties and tribal communities impacted by the 2020 wildfires; and one totaling $35 million for the remaining 28 counties in the state. An additional $9.7 million was allocated in late June 2021 to fund additional projects that were substantially through the due diligence process. Oregon Community Foundation has successfully administered both funds through an application and selection process, with guidance from an Advisory Committee of state, local, and community stakeholders.

"Project Turnkey establishes a pragmatic and scalable model that has empowered communities struggling to provide for community members experiencing homelessness,” said Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh, District 5. “I’m optimistic that Project Turnkey outcomes will validate this approach and allow our state and even our country to grow this model.”

Longer term, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is committed to providing ongoing support and technical assistance for Project Turnkey projects.

The film still image above is from "Home for Now," a film by Brandon Yadegari Moreno with co-production by Hanna Merzbach that highlights families displaced by fires and housed at the Redwood Inn, a Project Turnkey site in Medford.