Gov. Kate Brown has called the Legislature into special session on Dec. 13 to try to give renters additional protection against evictions.
We don’t know if the solutions she proposes are the right ones, but there is little question quick action is needed.
There has been money available to help renters, but the state has had trouble moving fast enough to get it to landlords. The state has also calculated that all the money it has to distribute will be gone, leaving some people to face eviction just as the weather turns colder.
“Oregon Housing and Community Services received $289 million in federal rental assistance funds to help Oregon renters impacted by COVID-19,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “As of last week, OHCS and their local partners had paid out close to $150 million in federal emergency rental assistance to over 22,000 households.”
Gov. Brown proposes to
• Give safe harbor protections for people who have applied for rental assistance
• Ensure landlords are paid for what they are owed
• Provide up to $90 million in rental assistance
• Provide $100 million to “long-term, locally-delivered eviction prevention services”
What’s not clear is how many Oregonians face eviction without state assistance and how much of that is due to the shudder given to the economy by COVID-19.