PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland residents who applied for $500 relief cards should keep their eye on the mail. The Portland Housing Bureau said the next round of 1400 cards will go into the mail Thursday or Friday from US Bank. An additional 3000 cards will be processed and mailed per week through December, city officials said.
The money is part of $15 million in CARES Act Covid-19 relief money the city received from the federal government for a Household Assistance Program. Starting in September, the City of Portland and United Way teamed up with 34 community based organizations to sign up people in need for 20,000 relief cards, totaling $10 million.
Getting the program up and running was difficult. Forms had to be created and people had to be trained to upload the information to a portal.
“We were building the plane while we were flying it,” said Leslie Goodlow, the Business Operations Manager for the Portland Housing Bureau.
The program requires coordination between the community based organizations, the United Way, the City of Portland, the US Department of the Treasury and US Bank.
Some viewers contacted KOIN 6 News wondering why they had not received their card.
“I don’t know why people think there’s something shady, but there isn’t,” said Goodlow.
Applicants had to be vetted to make sure they qualify, including whether they live in Portland city limits and that no more than 4 cards can be sent to one address.
“There have been lots of issues like dates of birth and names being wrong,” said Goodlow. She said the first round of about 400 cards were mailed last Thursday. Each community based organization was allotted a certain number of people they could sign up.
“Some got 250. Others got 2000, depending on the population they work with and reach,” said Goodlow.
To address concerns, Goodlow explained the process to one community based organization, which posted her statement on Facebook: “Unfortunately, some agencies misunderstood the timeline and told people the cards would be out on October 1st. The portal opened on that date, United Way processes the applications and then US Bank will send out the cards.”
This allotment of $500 cards is in addition to $1.3 million worth of cards awarded by the United Way to city residents, and $2 million in cards for homeless people in shelters and camps.