PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is still facing a huge backlog of applications for rental assistance, particularly in the Portland metro area.
Oregon Housing and Community Services said there are thousands of applications outside the 60- and 90-day windows for eviction protections. Many of those tenants caught in the backlog reside in Multnomah County where OHCS says it simply doesn’t have the staffing to keep up with all of the applications.
The Department of County Human Services, which is working to process some of the applications in Multnomah County, told the board of commissioners on Tuesday that they are prioritizing tenants at risk of eviction. Oregon’s third-party vendor, which is processing another 5,500 applications for the county, is doing the same.
Those who have gone through the process say the wait is stressful.
“That terror of every single month, right, for a year and a half you’re afraid that you’re going to get that eviction notice or you’re not gonna be able to live or you’re going to be out on the street and you’re gonna be faced with just all that stuff,” said Amber Cook.
Cook, who lives in Portland, applied for rental assistance and told KOIN 6 News she received her assistance payment last week. But she said many other tenants in her building are either still waiting or gave up because the application process was so complicated.
Multnomah County launched a rapid response eviction protection program in July to connect people with resources. They now have teams of people visiting the homes listed on the court docket for evictions in an attempt to intervene and learn what needs to happen to keep tenants housed while they work to distribute funds.