Coalition forms to house Malheur County’s homeless

Heather Echeveste, Housing Programs Manager for Community in Action in Ontario, talks about the homeless situation during a town hall meeting in February. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess).

ONTARIO – An ambitious, collaborative effort to create more housing – especially for the homeless - in Malheur County began with a conversation more than a year ago.

The Malheur County United Housing Collaborative consists of 11 agencies cooperating to tackle a range of local quality of life issues including affordable housing and physical, emotional and mental health challenges.

The coalition can trace its roots to a conversation between Barb Higinbotham, executive director of Community in Action, a local non-profit, and Liz Johnsen and Tim Hoekstra at Lifeways Behavioral Health in Ontario more than a year ago.

Higinbotham decided to seek input on the housing issue from Johnsen, who is director . . .