Salem, Oregon (KTVZ) – Oregon Housing and Community Services announced Friday that it will close the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) on August 12.
The portal remains closed to new applicants. Tenants with current incomplete applications or in need of re-certification are encouraged to submit their materials immediately. No new applications were accepted, but tenants with existing applications in the system who submit their fully completed applications by August 12th will continue to be processed with funds remaining.
The state was recently notified that it will receive approximately $7 million in additional funding for emergency federal rental assistance from the US Treasury. This funding will support families and individuals who have applied for rehabilitation for additional assistance from OERAP.
“Throughout the pandemic, OHCS and our partners have worked tirelessly to distribute vital emergency resources to create stability for vulnerable renters and cash-strapped landlords — all in service of supporting a just recovery,” said Jill Smith, interim director of the Housing Stability Division. in OHCS.
OHCS paid $390.38 million in emergency rental assistance to 60,829 families. Temporary emergency funding has helped an estimated 130,000 Oregonians stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OHCS launched OERAP in May 2021, and after an initial slow start, the agency has catapulted into a country regularly ranked among the top five according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The agency has secured additional funding from the US Treasury and the Oregon Legislature based on 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 provided the highest percentage of aid out of all states, according to the NLIHC, Oregon ranked first in the nation in the percentage of emergency rental assistance funds paid and committed.
“As one of the top-performing countries, our program attributes our ability to rapidly scale up the program to our strong partnerships. However, there is still a demonstrable need,” Smith said. “We have always known that even with record levels of assistance, the need is still The state of Oregon far exceeds the funding available. I am grateful to the Oregon Legislature for taking this step forward thinking about funding additional evacuation support for struggling Oregon residents. We know the need continues.”
With OERAP closed, preventing evictions will remain a top priority. OHCS created the Oregon Eviction Diversion and Prevention Program (ORE-DAP) with a portion of the $100 million in eviction prevention funding the agency received from the Oregon Legislature in December 2021.
The new program aims to help Oregonians facing rapid evictions by providing rental assistance and other critical eviction and housing resources such as case management, mediation, and legal services. This program is administered at the state level by community action agencies in partnership with culturally responsive organizations. To access ORE-DAP resources, tenants can contact community action agencies or call 2-1-1 to contact resources in their area.
Important OERAP closing information for tenants
Tenants who have previously received assistance and still require assistance must complete the rehabilitation process on or before 11:59 PM on August 12, 2022. Applicants must still be eligible for assistance to qualify for the re-accreditation payment.
Applicants can log into the portal and check the status of their application for completeness. Tenants with incomplete rehabilitation applications will need to provide the missing documents or information. Failure to complete and submit pending rehabilitation applications by the deadline may result in the loss of SB 891 Evacuation Protection Procedures.
If tenants are eligible to reapply and need additional assistance, they will receive an email with instructions on how to reapply. Funding remaining for the OERAP program is limited, and even if an applicant is eligible, there is no guarantee that 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 a Notice of Eviction should contact the Oregon Law Center Evacuation Defense Project For legal support. Landlords can be compensated for eligible non-payment costs such as rent and late fees incurred during the “safe harbor” period by applying to Owner’s Warranty Program.