Government: City Mulls Direction for Surplus Social Services Funding; Reminds Residents to Sign Up for Emergency Alerts System

Houselessness Funding: The Corvallis City Council looked at updating a policy on various aspects of funding for housing, shelter and social services at their July 6 work session.  

The funding landscape has changed, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this discussion. 

The city received funding from the Department of Admin Services (DAS) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for one time funding, the city has never received funding from these sources prior. The DAS funding is $1,000,000 and the ARPA funding is $1,962,828. 

The DAS and ARPA funds could be distributed under a single policy direction that would cover both funds or the council could provide policy direction that is different for each of the funding sources,” said Paul Bilotta, Community Development Director.  

The amount of one-time funding that is included in these two grants greatly exceeds the amount of social service funding normally available to the city on an annual basis, according to Bilotta.  

Prior to this the city has always had two funding sources available for social services including the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Corvallis Social Service Levy.  

“CDBG funds are supposed to be focused on capital projects, but HUD does allow a diversion of up to 15% of those funds to support social services,” said Bilotta. “Typically, Corvallis has chosen to divert the maximum amount of CDBG funds towards social services which is approximately $75,000 per year. These federal funds must be distributed in accordance with all federal rules and processes.” 

City staff are asking the council to provide direction for where to utilize the additional funds. Discussion has been ongoing, and it’s worth considering that legally speaking, the city is now subject to new state requirements to create a space where houseless people can rest and sleep. We’ll keep you updated. 

Corvallis Alerts: The City of Corvallis has launched Corvallis Alerts in an effort to notify community members in the event of an emergency. Corvallis Alerts is used by public safety agencies via text, email or phone call.  

Community members can sign up by texting CORVALLIS to 888777. 

During an emergency, public safety officials in the City of Corvallis will use Corvallis Alertto communicate important, timely information to the general public. But you need to sign up for the alerts, and City staff is looking to gently nudge you to do that – possibly, maybe, right now, as you read this. 

The system will be used for a variety of large-scale incidents affecting the Corvallis community, including: 

  • Natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, or wildfire. 
  • Structural fire 
  • Law enforcement activity 
  • Evacuation notice 
  • Road closures or traffic hazards 

For more information visit  

Benton County residents can sign up throughLinn-Benton Alert. 

By Jennifer Warner  

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