Today Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) shared that the agency and Local Program Administrators (LPAs) are making steady progress on application processing for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP). As of today, OHCS and LPAs have paid more than $92.3 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA1) to 14,304 applicants, and committed an additional $53.4 million for 6,664 households, for a total of $165.6 million for 20,968 households to date.
The agency also urged renters who may be eligible for OERAP to apply right away and to know their rights if they receive an eviction notice.
“OHCS and LPAs continue to increase processing speed for OERAP applications, while the demand continues to increase,” said Margaret Salazar, executive director of OHCS. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to distributing rental assistance as quickly as possible and leveraging our government and nonprofit partners to keep families safely and affordably housed.
"We’re making progress, and we encourage people who may be eligible for assistance to apply immediately.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition ranked Oregon eighth in the nation in percentage of federal ERA1 funds distributed to date. After confirming that Oregon has paid or obligated at least 65% of funds through Sept. 30, OHCS sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury to ask for additional rental assistance funding. The agency anticipates that the Treasury will soon provide more information about the plan to reallocate funding and steps states should take to request more dollars.
The agency is currently in talks with federal and state officials about how much additional funding the state will need to request to meet the urgent needs of Oregon families. To date, Oregon households have requested more than $305.9 million in ERA1 funds.
As of this week, OHCS and LPAs have:
The agency’s previously announced three-point plan is helping drive forward momentum and ensure OHCS and LPAs can process applications rapidly. The plan outlines key steps to accelerate application including:
According to the Oregon Law Center, the state saw 361 evictions move forward in July, 462 in Aug. and 473 in Sept. To date, 11,200 applications are outside the respective 60-/90-day windows of protection afforded by Senate Bill 278. Because the window begins when a tenant shows their landlord proof they applied for OERAP or another rental assistance program, this data cannot be tracked.
As part of the ERA1 grant, OHCS is funding community based groups including the Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project and the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) to connect tenants facing eviction with legal services.
Grant dollars awarded to the Oregon Law Center will be used to provide more statewide coverage for legal aid organizations, capture high-quality data on eviction trends and build up the organization’s network of legal aid lawyers. Funding provided to IRCO will help the organization increase statewide access to IRCO’s Connect Line, especially for immigrants and refugees facing housing instability. IRCO will also allocate part of their funding to enhance, create and expand access to Immigrant Legal Services.
The agency has the following guidance for tenants who are facing eviction or are behind on rent payments:
Visit the OERAP dashboard here for more data.