PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Renters in Multnomah County are now protected from eviction until September 25 but only if they’ve applied for rental assistance and are waiting for funds.
Roughly 15,000 households have applied for state-funded rental assistance, but the state is still struggling to distribute the money.
“Our ability to get rent assistance out the door is the critical element that will prevent an eviction tsunami,” Commissioner Sharon Meieran said.
The majority of people who have applied for help live in Multnomah County. Thursday morning, the Board of County Commissioners voted to extend protections for renters.
At the end of June the Oregon legislature passed a bill giving tenants an extra 60 days to pay rent and avoid eviction if they can provide documentation to their landlord that they’ve applied for rental assistance. Now, people in Multnomah County have 90 days — through September 25, 2021 — if they applied for assistance.
“While for many of us we are emerging from this COVID tunnel and the pandemic feels as if it’s over, there are still too many people for whom it’s not over.”Commissioner Susheela Jayapal said “The threat of eviction is a significant and potentially catastrophic event faced by thousands and potentially tens of thousands of Multnomah County renters.”
“The extension doesn’t necessarily fix the underlying problem,” said Jessica Greenlee with Affinity property management, “because parts of the Round One, the Landlord Compensation Fund payments, still are not distributed. And that’s been four months.”
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said, “Keeping people in their homes while they wait for their applications to be processed and approved improves their chances that they will retain their stability and also improves the likelihood that landlords will be able to recover the rent that they have missed out on over the last 16 months.”
However, some people say this extension continues to put the burden on landlords who have also been suffering and, in some cases, waiting 16 months for back-rent. The state said the demand for help is unprecedented and that they need more time to process all of the applications.
If you need help paying rent because of the pandemic, you can still apply for assistance.