The State of Oregon announced that the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program on Aug. 12. While no new applicants can sign up, those who currently have incomplete applications in the system are being urged to wrap those up as soon as possible.
Here is more information from Oregon Housing and Community Services.
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to close the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) on Aug. 12, 2022. The portal remains closed to new applicants. Tenants with current incomplete applications or in need of recertification are encouraged to submit their materials right away. No new applications are being accepted but tenants with existing applications in the system who fully submit their completed applications by the August 12 will continue to be processed as funds remain.
The state was recently notified that it would receive nearly $7 million in additional federal emergency rental assistance funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This funding will support families and individuals who have submitted recertification applications for additional OERAP assistance.
“Throughout the pandemic, OHCS and our partners have worked relentlessly to distribute critical emergency resources to create stability for vulnerable renters and cash-strapped landlords—all in service to supporting an equitable recovery,” said Jill Smith, interim director of the Housing Stabilization Division at OHCS.
OHCS has paid out $390.38 million in emergency rental assistance to 60,829 households. The temporary emergency funding helped an estimated 130,000 Oregonians stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OHCS launched OERAP in May 2021, and after an initial slow start, the agency catapulted to become a state regularly ranked within the top five according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The agency was awarded additional funding from the U.S. Treasury and Oregon Legislature based on the demonstrated need. The agency and its partners have distributed more than half a billion in rental assistance from state and federal funding since January 2021.
Oregon has provided the highest percentage of assistance out of all the states, according to the NLIHC, ranking Oregon first in the nation in the percentage of emergency rental assistance funds paid out and obligated.
“As one of a handful of top-performing states, our program attributes our ability to scale the program quickly to our strong partnerships. Yet the demonstratable need remains,” said Smith. “We always knew that even with record levels of assistance, the need in Oregon continues to far exceed the available funding. I’m grateful to the Oregon Legislature for taking the forward-thinking step of funding additional eviction supports for struggling Oregonians. We know the need continues.”
As OERAP closes, eviction prevention will remain a top priority. OHCS created the Oregon Eviction Diversion and Prevention (ORE-DAP) Program with part of the $100 million in eviction prevention funding the agency received from the Oregon Legislature in December 2021.
The new program aims to quickly assist Oregonians facing evictions by delivering rental assistance and other critical eviction and housing-related resources such as case management, mediation, and legal services. This program is being administered statewide by community action agencies in partnership with culturally responsive organizations. To access ORE-DAP resources, tenants may contact their community action agencies or call 2-1-1 to be connected to resources in their area.
Important OERAP closure information for tenants
Tenants who previously received assistance and still need help must complete the recertification process on or before 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2022. Applicants must still be eligible for assistance to qualify for recertification payment.
Applicants may log in to the portal and check the status of their application to ensure it is complete. Tenants with incomplete recertification applications will need to provide missing documents or information. Failure to finalize and submit outstanding recertification applications by the deadline could result in the loss of SB 891 eviction protections.
If tenants are eligible to reapply and need additional assistance, they will receive an email with instructions on how to reapply. Remaining OERAP funding is limited, and even if an applicant is eligible, there is no guarantee their application will be funded.
Rental assistance remains available at the local level. For more information, tenants can call 2-1-1 or visit oregonrentalassistance.org. Individuals who have received an eviction notice should contact Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project for legal support. Landlords can be reimbursed for eligible non-payment costs such as rent and late fees incurred during the “safe harbor” period by applying to the Landlord Guarantee Program.