With Oregon’s eviction moratorium expiring in less than two months — and Congress stalled on adding rent support to a new COVID-19 bill — governments in the Portland metro area are investing millions of dollars to help thousands of families on the edge of losing their housing.
The Portland Housing Bureau, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, Multnomah County’s Department of County Human Services, and regional housing authority Home Forward have banded together to deploy $29 million in rent assistance to COVID-impacted households throughout Multnomah County over the next several months. Those funds include $25 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Worksystems has been chosen to receive $1 million to distribute through our partner network, prioritizing BIPOC households seeking job training and placement services.
Renters have until March 2021 to repay any back rent they accrued during the eviction moratorium, which lasts through Sept. 30, but starting Oct. 1, renters will need to resume paying their rent every month, or risk eviction.
That’s why the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program (CVRRP) is dedicating state, local and federal CARES Act funding to prevent evictions caused by the financial and health impacts of COVID-19. The program will provide up to three months of rent assistance to eligible households, prioritizing rent payments due on and after Oct. 1.
Because the COVID crisis has magnified the existing economic and health disparities for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities resulting from systemic and institutionalized racism, resources will be primarily deployed through culturally specific agencies and other community organizations to effectively reach and serve BIPOC households and communities.
Allocations of CVRRP rent assistance include:
- $11.3 million will be distributed through the Short-Term Rent Assistance (STRA) network of 19 community partners.
- Two-thirds of the funding will be allocated through culturally specific organizations serving BIPOC communities.
- $5.5 million will be distributed through 211info for general access. To help families better access this assistance, Multnomah County has also invested in new staff to help process applications. That support will help 211info and Bienestar de la Familia, a culturally specific program of Multnomah County serving Latino/Latinx and African immigrant communities.
- $4.5 million will be distributed to the Portland Housing Bureau’s affordable housing providers, prioritizing BIPOC residents and residents with a disability.
- $1 million will be distributed through Worksystems partner network, prioritizing BIPOC households seeking job training and placement services through employment programs.
In addition, partners in this program are committed to growing the network of organizations to conduct outreach, eligibility, and intake beyond those who traditionally provide Short-Term Rent Assistance.