Oregonians to get another shot at emergency rental assistance

Oregon

Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will reopen the application portal Jan. 26

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregonians will have a third chance to apply for emergency rental assistance at the end of the month — a welcome announcement for those who still need help.

Oregon Housing and Community Services announced on Thursday it will start accepting applications for the third round of rental assistance starting January 26. The application portal will remain open for 3-5 weeks.

Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program

This comes after the state put a temporary pause on accepting new applications on December 1, saying they didn’t have enough funding. OHCS said there were 14,000 eligible applications received before that December 1 deadline that still need to be paid.

They plan to prioritize those applications first and say there may not be enough funding for all of the new applications they expect to get. 

“For era three, we project that we will have about $47 million to $66 million available, which equates to about 6,700 to 9,300 applications,” OHSC Director of Housing Stabilization Andrea Bell explained. “Based on what the program has seen so far, we may get more applications than what we have funding available.”

As the state continues to work on getting rental assistance out, property managers say they’re growing frustrated. Some say they’re still waiting for checks and are upset over the lack of communication in this process. 

Two different property managers told KOIN 6 News similar stories about how difficult it’s been to get answers for their tenants and to correct any wrong information. Both say they have tenants who have been waiting for months to find out if their applications are approved or do not know how much longer they could be waiting.  

One property manager even said they had received checks for another property whose name is similar to theirs. 

“Somehow they’re getting payments for our tenants and I have been getting checks for their tenants,” one property manager named Heidi explained. “And the check is cut to us — but it’s not our tenant nor our property that we manage.”

Andie Lane, another property manager and housing provider, described how she has residents coming to her office crying, unsure of what to do or if they’ll get accepted in the first place.

“They don’t know what’s going on, they can’t get straight answers — and I can’t get that to them either. I don’t like being that person,” Lane said. “And it falls on deaf ears when I send it up to where it goes to.”

KOIN 6 News reached out to OHCS about the lack of communication and instances of checks being sent out incorrectly.

In their response, OHCS said they’re working to improve communication and that an enhancement was implemented recently to the application processing system, which requires a processer to verify key information provided by tenants — such as the correct landlord name — before the system allows the application to go forward.

This is a developing story.

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