BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have approved the creation of a Houseless Fund, within the city’s budget. City Finance Director Jeanette Townsend told the Council Wednesday it changes how revenue and expenses are tracked. "Creating a separate Houseless Fund will improve the transparency of the houseless operations and promote control and accountability over those resources," she said, "The Houseless Fund will include revenues and expenditures related to owning and operating shelters, managing the right of way and other related services, as well as support provided to the community along the housing continuum."
Under the current system, homelessness programs and services are paid for through the general fund, "The proposed budget adjustment moves existing appropriations relating to houseless operations from the general fund to the new Houseles Fund," said Townsend, "There’s no new funding or expenditure appropriations in this proposed budget. It is simply a move from one fund into a new fund."
Several people testified in opposition to the fund because they disagree with how the city is managing the homeless crisis. Council reiterated the Houseless Fund doesn’t change how or how much they spend on homelessness programs, only how those expenses are tracked.
Townsend says creating the fund before the next budget is approved will make it easier to prepare for the next biennium, "Having this fund in place now allows us to budget for those houseless activities in this new fund, so that when that proposed budget comes before you, I think it will further promote that transparency in monitoring of the houseless expenditures."
Revenue, expenses and all financial tracking for those programs will be relabeled under the Houseless Fund at the start of the new fiscal year, June first.