PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will reopen for a limited time beginning Wednesday, giving those who need help paying rent a few more weeks to apply for the third round of payments.
The state of Oregon says it plans to keep the rental assistance application portal open for three to five weeks depending on available funding.
Oregon Housing and Community Services estimates it will have enough money to pay between 6,700 and 9,300 additional applications.
Those who applied before Dec. 1 when the state temporarily stopped taking new applications will be processed first. After that, OHCS says households with the most need will have priority for assistance.
Tenants who apply for rental assistance now still qualify for the Safe Harbor eviction protections, meaning landlords cannot evict a tenant until their application is processed.
“We have legislative protections in place that pauses evictions for tenants, but those protections rely on rental assistance being available,” said Becky Straus, the managing attorney with the Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project. “These couple of months without easy, centralized access to rent assistance have been very difficult.”
As of Wednesday, OHCS says more than 11,000 applications still need to be processed.
OHCS said there were more than 14,000 eligible applications received before they paused the last round of assistance on December 1 and they plan to prioritize those applications.
During the pause on accepting applications, the office said they were able to get a full accounting of all of the applications in the system and enhance the program, so officials are hopeful that will help speed things up.
Households with the most need will have priority in accessing these resources. This is not a first-come, first-serve basis, officials said.
OHCS said the office has already received about 800 new, complete applications Friday.
Those who still need to apply can visit the OERAP portal here.