Latest Rental Assistance Distribution Drama: OHCS will suspend aid applications as of Dec. 1, 2021
For months Multifamily NW has been advocating for the State of Oregon to speed up its process of delivering emergency rental assistance. Multifamily NW leadership has been the squeaky wheel giving testimony to interim Legislative Committees and the Oregon Housing Stability Council providing facts and figures – directly from the state’s own dashboard of published data – to accurately show the detail of aid delay and mismanagement.
Witnessing little improvement in aid distribution, the association continued to reach out directly to Governor Brown and to Legislative Leadership to release the rental assistance choked up in their application processes. In turn, their response was to hold a Special Session to further extend the nonpayment “safe harbor” delays from SB 278. In a recent OPB article critical of $159 million in rental assistance already allocated yet still not delivered, Margaret Salazar, the Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), the state agency in charge of distributing rent assistance, dismissed our rental assistance concerns as a “false narrative.” The hubris and unwillingness to quickly solve the aid distribution is astonishing. Housing providers across the state are united against simply extending another round of a moratorium without addressing the failing of distributing the rent assistance.
OHCS announced that they will stop accepting applications for rent assistance as of December 1, 2021 due to projected funds availability. Again, the state ought to be ramping up their capacity, not slowing down an already delayed and botched rollout of rental assistance. The Oregon Legislature has an Emergency Board with the authority to meet outside of session and allocate dollars to rental assistance.
As flawed at the rental assistance has been, housing providers are still encouraged to share the Rental Assistance application portal with renters in need: www.oregonrentalassistance.org, especially before the new deadline of December 1, 2021.