PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 11,000 Oregon households are at risk of eviction as early as Wednesday because protections have expired while they were waiting for rental assistance.
The state has received nearly 51,000 complete applications for rental assistance but so far, just 43% of those who have applied have received funding. Officials said they aren’t sure when the state will get through the backlog.
Musonda Mwango is a father of three who still hasn’t gotten the funding he applied for. He said he applied for help as soon as applications opened and in august learned he was approved for funding.
“How am I going to keep my kids in a warm place?” Mwango said. “How am I going to make sure that they even just have the security of knowing that they’ll have a home for Christmas?”
“That was August, so this almost the end of November — that funding has never come,” he added. “So in the meantime, my arrears for my rent is moving along, that doesn’t stop.”
Oregon Housing and Community Services said it is prioritizing applications that are now outside the 60- and 90-day safe harbor windows, but like Mwango, more than 11,000 Oregon households are already at risk of eviction.
“Here you are going into a time of joyous celebration and spend time with family and yet, you also have this thing at the back of your mind that this place that we call home might not actually be our home much longer,” Mwango said.
He said he’s tired of hearing words and wants to see the state take real action to get funding out faster. In the meantime, Mwango’s among those calling for a special legislative session to extend eviction protections to keep people housed as the state works through the backlog.
That has yet to happen, but Gov. Kate Brown’s office said she will call for one if it looks like something would pass in the legislature.
Those who still need rental assistance and have yet to apply are running out of time. Beginning Dec. 1, Oregon is pausing the acceptance of new applications for six weeks so officials can focus on processing existing applications and advocate for additional federal funding.