SALEM, OR — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced today that she will convene the legislature for a special session to prevent evictions due to COVID-19.
“As we enter our coldest months, it is absolutely essential that we take action to ensure no additional Oregon families are evicted when rental assistance is on the way,” Brown said in a news release.
“We must take legislative action now to approve additional state funding for rental assistance, and to extend eviction protections for Oregonians who have applied for assistance.”
The federal government allocated $289 million to help Oregon renters impacted by the pandemic. Over half of that has been paid out to over 22,000 households as of last week.
The remaining funds will have been spoken for by Wednesday, according to Oregon Housing and Community Services.
As a result, Brown says she is working with the U.S. Treasury and the White House to secure additional funding.
“But it is clear that a state solution is needed to address the urgent and immediate needs of Oregon renters,” she added.
Among Brown’s proposals are to extend protections for everybody who has applied for rental assistance; provide up to $90 million to ensure low-income tenants have a place to live through the winter; and spend another $100 million to transition from pandemic-related rental assistance to long-term solutions.
More than 100,000 households in Oregon are at risk of eviction due to delays in processing their applications for rental assistance, said Oregon State Sen. Kayse Jama and Rep. Julie Fahey today in a statement.
“No Oregonian should be evicted while rental assistance is on the way,” they said. “A special session is the only way to prevent this.”
Bipartisan legislation has been passed in other states, including Minnesota and Nevada, to prevent tenants with pending applications for rental assistance from being evicted.