Online system failure, funds closing, cause rental assistance frustrations

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The pandemic has had an impact on everyone, including renters and tenants.

Non-profit organizations allocating money from state and federal funds are available to those in need, but applicants are having a difficult time with the process.

The process of receiving rental assistance has become a frustration due to funds unexpectedly closing, combined with new online system failures.

“We as an agency apologize for just the complexity and confusion around this entire program and how it rolled out,” Said Program Director for the Housing Stabilization Department at Neighbor Impact Molly Heiss. “I don’t think it was necessarily an issue with Oregon Housing Community Services, I think the money when it came out by the treasury, the guidance was confusing and ever changing. So, I am sure it has been kind of a confusing and frustrating process to applicants, I’m sure.”

“We utilized a new portal to the entire state called Allita 360 and it came with its own set of challenges and technological difficulties and on the fly reprogramming by OHCS and they acknowledged it was a platform as they had hoped,” Heiss said

State reopens portal for Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program

To date NeighborImpact has spent about $10.6 million in financial assistance through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Helping around 1,800 Central Oregon households, with 623 applicants in recertification.

NeighborImpact is receiving around $1.5 million in new funding to help renters and additional money might be on its way.

“We thought we were done with COVID relief about five times now and the state keeps responding or the federal government keeps responding  with additional assistance, kind of recognizing that rent costs across the nation and especially in Central Oregon are just exceptionally high for folks,” said Heiss.

For those still trying to be approved for rental assistance or stuck in a process for recertifying, Heiss suggests reaching out to their housing stabilization teams.

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