The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has left many Oregon families without resources to pay rent, buy food, make utility payments, and provide other necessities. OHCS’ COVID-19 Rent Relief Program provides much-needed rent assistance for people who have experienced a loss of income and are at risk of homelessness due to COVID-19.
“Through no fault of their own, many Oregonian families are facing an abrupt loss of income and find themselves unable to pay their rent during this pandemic,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Through Oregon Housing and Community Services, we can deliver immediate rent relief so that more families can stay housed as we work to build a safe and strong Oregon.”
Many Oregonian are struggling to pay rent, and low-income Oregonians and communities of color are more likely to be rent-burdened than their white counterparts. OHCS allocated these funds through a needs based formula to regional Community Action Agencies (CAAs). The formula weighed severe rent burden data, poverty data, homelessness data, and unemployment claims.
CAAs will begin taking applications in the coming days. Tenant income loss documentation and other materials are required to access this program. Rent payments will be made directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant. Portlanders can call 211 for assistance, where they will be directed to the correct place to apply. Tenants in other parts of Oregon, contact their local CAA.
“The last two months have been trying for many in our communities,” said Director Margaret Salazar, “Oregonians were already struggling to find a safe, stable and affordable place to call home.
"As families grapple with lost wages, the need is even greater.
"I am so grateful to get this assistance in the hands of our friends and neighbors in need, including farmworkers and their families who are facing unique housing challenges.”
The $8.5 million was allocated by the Oregon Legislature through the Joint Emergency Board. OHCS anticipates additional resources from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be made available in the weeks ahead.