2014 Legislative “Short Session” Report

Success: Preventing Homelessness for Victims

Advocates continue to say that lack of emergency and affordable housing are a primary need for victims across the state. Thus, VAW PAC and other allies supported the Oregon Housing Alliance efforts to restore $1.5 million to the Emergency Housing Account and $0.5 million to the State Homeless Assistance Program. These funds, continually cut since 2007 despite increased need, are considered the most flexible resource to end and prevent homelessness in Oregon. This win restores the funds for the remainder of the 2014 biennium back to 2007 levels plus inflation.

Our champion legislators came through, and despite difficult budget decisions, supported housing for victims through this $2 million restoration.

 

Discussion started: Reinvesting Settlement Funds to Support Legal Aid Services Vital to Victims

House Bill 4143 would have significantly increased funding for legal aid services by directing unclaimed class action lawsuit proceeds to legal aid services instead of back to the corporation that was sued.

Very frequently, victims are fighting for their personal safety and seeking protection from sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. Yet, at the level Legal Aid services are are currently funded, they often have to turn away many victims who cannot otherwise afford legal assistance.

“Addressing domestic violence cases early through the civil legal system helps keep children in school, potential victims out of the hospital, and can ease the burden on the criminal justice system.” – Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

HB 4143 was passed in the House but died in the Senate. We look forward to continuing the discussion on this important piece of legislation in the next full session in 2015.

As we begin gearing up for to this year’s elections, as well as the 2015 legislative session, your support is more important now than ever.

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