SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) estimates nearly all of the federal emergency rental assistance funds have been accounted for, so the state will pause accepting new applications starting at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2021.
The halt will last for six weeks so the state can keep its promise to every renter who has applied for assistance so far.
As part of COVID relief packages, Oregon was allocated $289 million by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The state said it distributed the funds quicker than many other counties and states, and it ranked 7th nationwide in percent of federal emergency rental assistance funds paid or obligated.
So far, Oregon has given out more than $130 million in emergency rental assistance to more than 19,600 renters impacted by the pandemic. The state said the rental assistance program is critical to stop evictions for nonpayment, and acknowledges renters are still at risk despite these measures.
In a statement, OHCS Director Margaret Salazar said:
“It is clear the need for emergency rental assistance is far greater than the amount of federal funding available for the program at this time. This pause will allow the agency to advocate for additional federal funding or other resources at the state level, focus on quickly processing applications and assess whether we have adequate funding available to accept new applications.”
The new federal funding can be requested because Oregon met a deadline of Sept. 30, 2021, to paying or obligating to at least 65% of the first round of funding distributed by the Treasury Department.
Anyone who has fallen behind on rent or may fall behind in the future is asked to apply for emergency rental assistance right away.
After Dec. 1, 2021, OHCS encourages people apply for other programs across the state to receive the 60-day safe harbor period, or 90-days for Multnomah County and parts of Washington County. Some cities and counties received emergency rental assistance funds directly from the Treasury. You can contact them below:
City of Portland and Multnomah County: 503-222-5555
Clackamas County: 503-655-8575
Lane County: 541-682-3776
Marion County: 971-706-1364
Washington County: 503-615-0770