The Race for Rental Assistance

Posted By: Jonathan Clay Central Oregon, Industry News, Mid-Willamette Valley, Portland/SW Washington, SWV News,

As you are likely aware, Multifamily NW has been very critical of the abysmal distribution of allocated Rental Assistance from state and local government. For more than 18 months, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rental assistance has been needed by families suffering a loss of income. According to only $39 million has been distributed out of $187 million requested by those with rent balances. These funds were originally allocated to Oregon by the Federal CARES Act passed back in 2020. If state and local government doesn’t distribute $132 million of these CARES Act dollars by September 30, Oregonians are at risk losing those aid dollars.

Rental Assistance must be initiated by the Renter

Direct renters with unpaid rent balances to complete the rental assistance application at as soon as possible. Simply by applying for rental assistance and sending the housing providers proof of their application (screenshot of their application, copy of application’s email confirmation, etc.) renters are then protected from any nonpayment eviction action for 60 days while they wait for the processing time of their rental assistance application. If the renter resides in Multnomah County, that nonpayment eviction protection extends to 90 days. Additionally, Multnomah County is disbursing “rapid-payment rental assistance” from CARES Act dollars awarded directly to them. Multnomah County is directing residents to call 211 to apply for these funds. More information on Multnomah County rent assistance resources can be found here:

Next Steps: Landlord Guarantee Fund

Due to the passage of SB 278 in June of 2021, the Oregon Legislature created an additional pool of funds to address the very slow rollout of rental assistance. When housing providers receive notice their renter has applied for rental assistance, and after 60 days has passed with no disbursement of aid, housing providers across Oregon may then apply to the Landlord Guarantee Program through Home Forward: This fund will pay out nonpaid rents beginning from July 2022, regardless of whether a renter’s original rental assistance application is eventually approved or denied.

We realize the last year and a half have been demoralizing for housing providers with the pandemic’s uncertainty and seemingly little regard for the massive role housing providers play in stabilizing close to ½ of Oregon’s population, whether compensated or not. Don’t give up! Make sure you participate in these funding resources that have been allocated, however complicated or cumbersome they are to complete.