NeighborImpact ‘Spends’ Latest CO Rental Aid Funds As Lawmakers Agree New Funding
But this new aid will be distributed by the state, to the chagrin of the local agency
REDMOND, Oregon (KTVZ) – The distribution of federal rent assistance was a key topic of the special session of the Oregon Legislature on Monday. In the end, lawmakers voted to commit an additional $ 100 million in rent assistance and an additional $ 100 million to help tenants facing eviction.
Some lawmakers have criticized the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services and its director for what they saw as a failure in the timely distribution of resources, even though Oregon currently ranks fourth among 50 states for the pace of rental assistance distribution, NeighborImpact noted. in a press release Tuesday.
As the Legislature debated the need to increase rent assistance, NeighborImpact in central Oregon said it quietly “spent” the last of its federal rent assistance dollars. Monday evening.
âWe have released $ 10.6 million since June,â said Scott Cooper, CEO of NeighborImpact. âWe served 1,791 households, with an average payment of just under $ 6,000. The team was supposed to have until June 30 to âspend,â but we always planned to spend before Christmas, and we’re comfortably ahead of our self-imposed deadline. “
NeighborImpact has contracted with Oregon Housing and Community Services to distribute several rounds of rental assistance packages in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Warm Springs reserve. The organization has distributed nearly $ 18.6 million in funding.
Cooper noted that the latest round of funding generated nearly $ 29 million in applications from 3,532 households.
“Unpaid claims will now be transferred to Oregon Housing and Community Services for processing by a third party contractor using a call center in Washington,” Cooper noted. âOur office will be available to help people navigate the system, but we will not be involved in processing or paying for the next round of claims, due to Oregon Housing’s decision to centralize the program. We are a little disappointed about this.
During the special legislative session, Oregon Housing said it would reopen the now closed portal for additional rent applications. Tenants applying for rental assistance cannot be evicted for 60 days from the time they file their application. It is not known how the rent for new applications will be paid, as the existing waiting list is longer than the amount of funds remaining.
Cooper said NeighborImpact was working to bring additional funds to the region to continue supporting rent assistance.
âUnfortunately, the government is not moving as fast as the economy,â Cooper said. “We believe there is a way to bring a few million more dollars to the area to help stabilize the rental economy, but it may take a few more months.”
In the meantime, tenants and landlords interested in rent assistance should visit the Oregon Community and Housing Services website at www.oregonrentalassistance.org.
Cooper said the opportunity to help residents of central Oregon with rent assistance during COVID has been a giveaway for NeighborImpact. “We’ve never had those kinds of resources,” he said. âIt has been a struggle to put together such a large program so quickly, but it was an honor to be able to say, ‘Yes we can’, when asked if we could help. “
Cooper also commented that the central Oregon homeowner community is an unsung hero of the rental crisis during the pandemic.
âLandlords worked with tenants to keep them in their rentals while they arranged to pay off their rent owed. Courts have not seen an increase in deportation requests in central Oregon. The owners have done their part by uploading materials to help qualify their customers for assistance. It hasn’t been the experience of everyone statewide, but it says a lot about the culture of care in central Oregon, âCooper said. âThis whole experience was different in our region than in the rest of Oregon. As is often the case, things are different here, and generally in a better way. ”
About NeighborImpact: NeighborImpact is a private, non-profit organization run by a board of directors drawn from across the community. Since 1985, NeighborImpact has led the region by developing solutions and providing resources to Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs. We help meet the basic needs of people in central Oregon, strengthen economic security, and create a community where everyone can thrive. NeighborImpact receives federal, state and local grants, foundation grants, and donations from individuals and businesses in our community. To learn more about NeighborImpact, please visit www.neighbourimpact.org.