PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After Oregon placed a six-week pause on new rental assistance applications, Multnomah County Human Services is now scrambling to process a backlog of petitions in what they describe as triage.

“Over these past two weeks when we found out about the pause, we’ve shifted focus,” said Stephanie Simmons from DCHS. “Our Allita team, instead of processing our applications in a way that we typically had been doing since May, we focused on those applications — about 5,000 actually — that were in a status that was incomplete, meaning they didn’t even make it to a point where they would be assigned to a processer.”

DCHS said the state’s assistance portal reopening is dependent on if more relief funds become available.

In October the Oregon Housing and Community Services said there was over 11,000 applications waiting to be processed.

The state began seeing a build up of applications in September.

“I don’t think the centralized system is worth the sacrifice of Oregonians’ peace of mind for getting their rent paid,” said Scott Cooper. “I think we were given this money by the federal government to get the money into people’s hands and that’s what we ought to be doing and anything that’s in the way of that, we need to plow over the top of it, including not-working software systems for which Oregon is famous.”

Scott Cooper the executive director of Neighbor Impact — a community action agency responsible for processing applications and cutting checks in Central Oregon — said they had been slowed down by ongoing technical issues with the state’s software system, Allita.

Cooper said Neighbor Impact formally asked the state in April to ditch Allita and go back to the old system, but they’re still using it. He said the current system is working better now, but they still have major problems that need to be fixed in order to get money out faster.