KWSO News for Fri., Jul. 29, 2022

With the recent heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest, cooling shelters have been organized to help those in need of a place to escape the heat. In Warm Springs, a cooling shelter will be open weekdays at the Family Resource Center Conference room for whenever the temperatures exceed 90 degrees, which can range from 11am-8pm during the weekdays and from noon until 8pm on the weekends. Some of the rules are: No Pets are allowed, No alcohol, tobacco or drugs, No Violence, verbal or physical is allowed and face masks are required. Some tips for keeping your home as cool as possible: keep curtains and blinds closed during the day, open windows during cooler evening hours, operate the clothes dryer and dishwasher at night and set your AC’s at 78 degrees, higher when you are away from home. Limit physical labor during the hottest part of the day by starting early. If you must work in the heat, monitor your health to avoid heat exhaustion.

The Warm Springs Housing Authority continues to recruit applicants for their Homeowner Assistance Fund Program.  The program can offer up to $4000 in Mortgage Assistance and up to $4000 in Homeowner Insurance Assistance.

  • Applicants must be an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
  • Your primary residence must be located on the Warm Springs Reservation
  • This is for current First Mortgage (stick built or manufactured home)
  • Combined Household income must be 150% or less of Area Median Income.

A link to apply online is located here: WSHA App  You may also pick up an application at the Warm Springs Housing Authority Office, or the Warm Springs Credit Enterprise Office. Call WSHA at 541-553-3250 if you have any questions.

Rising housing costs, affordability challenges, and home supply shortfalls are affecting the entire nation. Those problems are worse for people of color. A study released by Harvard University on the State of the Nation’s Housing found 72% of white households own homes, compared to 61% of Asian, 57% of Native American, 48% of Hispanic, and 42% of Black households. Researcher Alexander Hermann (her-MAN) says the differences persist regardless of income level. “Houses of color and Black households in particular, derive a higher share of their wealth from homeownership, right, but have been assisted systematically locked out of the homeownership market over the years..” To solve the problem, Hermann says policymakers can do more to incentivize residential construction of all kinds. That could include adjusting or eliminating land use policies that constrain residential construction, especially multifamily units. Under the recently passed Senate Bill 608 in Oregon, landlords cannot increase the rent during a tenant’s first year. After that, rent prices can only be increased by 7% plus inflation.

Over 900 Oregon residents attended a virtual hearing Wednesday night about the state’s new wildfire risk map. State agencies heard numerous complaints over the impacts to homeowners insurance. Homeowner Brandon Larsen says he’s expecting changes to insurance coming very soon. “I’ve spoken with my insurance provider and they have said that they’re currently assessing the bill and that they are most likely not going to extend any new policies to people in the area and that future rates are also going to be increased.” (:16) Another resident says his insurance has already doubled as a result, with his provider pointing to the risk map specifically. Brian Fordham from the Division of Financial Regulation says insurance companies have been studying wildfire risk for decades. He says the only change is this data is now available to the public for the first time. Many residents asked state lawmakers to pass protections for homeowners. California enacted a law in 2018 that prevents insurers from canceling policies for one year after a wildfire.

St. Charles Health System in Central Oregon became the first hospital in Oregon to declare crisis standards of care on July 15. But you may not have heard about it, because hospital leaders never announced their decision publicly. Joni Auden Land [[JOE-nee AH-den Land]] reports. “St. Charles Health System declared crisis standards nearly two weeks ago due to a severe staffing shortage, but never told the public. Chief Nursing Executive Joan Ching said they wanted guidance from the state before making it public. The state told hospital leaders they did not meet the requirements to declare a crisis. Crisis standards of care is when hospitals reduce the care they provide to patients to only the most essential. This often happens during emergency and disaster situations. The decision also fell on the same day that a state rule requiring hospitals to notify the public had expired. Ching called this timing a “coincidence.” The hospital’s nurse staffing committee met Wednesday to discuss how their operations will adjust in the wake of this staffing crisis. Joni Auden Land reporting”

KWSO Weather for Central Oregon:

  • Sunny and Hot today with a high near 113 degrees
  • Tonight, Mostly Clear with a low around 70
  • Sunny and Hot tomorrow with a high near 112 degrees

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