OREGON REACHES MILESTONE: $289 MILLION IN FEDERAL EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PAID TO SUPPORT MORE THAN 40,000 HOUSEHOLDS – STILL MORE THAN $100 MILLION IN RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS AVAILABLE.
Feb. 24, 2022
Oregon reaches milestone: $289 million in federal emergency rental assistance paid to support more than 40,000 households
Still more than $100 Million in Rental Assistance funds available
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) reached the critical milestone of paying $289 million through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) a month earlier than expected and years ahead of the federal deadlines. As of Feb. 23, the emergency response program has paid out $289.6 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) to 40,593 households, up from $282.4 million and 39,797 applicants last week through OERAP.
“During my time assisting families, I have seen the impact be huge. Rental assistance helps stabilize a home, and people feel more secure. Especially with the fact that the OERAP program offers tenant protections once the application is complete. It offers families the peace of mind knowing they don’t have to worry about eviction,” said Celeste Soto, a housing navigator with Northwest Family Services.
Due to demonstrated ongoing need and feedback from community and housing stakeholders, OHCS is dedicating additional resources to tenants applying for OERAP. These funds are in addition to the $100 million the Oregon Legislature allocated for emergency rental assistance and the $1.1 million in reallocated funds the U.S. Department of the Treasury awarded OHCS for high performance in late December 2021. OHCS continues to advocate for more reallocated federal dollars but at this time, the agency does not have specific details on how Treasury plans to administer additional reallocated funds.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, there have been numerous emergency measures taken by state and local governments to protect renters from eviction during the pandemic. One of those protections, SB 282, expires on Feb. 28 for rental debt accrued during April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. However, SB 891 remains in effect and eligible renters can receive safe harbor protections from eviction while their rental assistance application is being processed. Eligible renters are encouraged to apply today.
The OERAP portal remains open for renters and continues to accept thousands of new applications. The applications will be prioritized based on those who have the most need, not on a first-come, first-served basis. The additional funding will allow OHCS to keep the OERAP portal open to new applications beyond the initial estimate of three to five weeks. The agency is committed to providing at least a week’s notice prior to closing the portal and will provide additional details next week. Tenants can apply for OERAP at oregonrentalassistance.org or call 211 if they have questions.
Progress and updated numbers
The program administered by OHCS is one of the nation’s top-performing programs. OERAP is ranked fourth in the nation in the percentage of federal ERA funds paid out and obligated, as tracked by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Currently, 265 PPL staff are focusing on processing applications and answering thousands of inquiries from tenants and landlords. This is in addition to the applications processed by Local Public Administrators working across the state to finish paying out ERA 1 funds.
To date, OHCS and LPAs: Paid $289,608,686 to landlords and tenants to help 40,593 Oregon households.
Are currently reviewing 3,182 applications for payment that were submitted prior to Dec. 1, 2021.
Need applicant or landlord response for 4,073 applications that were submitted prior to Dec. 1, 2021.
Received 11,102 applications since the portal reopened on Jan. 26, 2022.