Oregon residents have battled the threat of wildfires along with the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, but on Monday they received some good news. Several communities in Oregon will receive a share of $22.4 million for housing aid, U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced. Corvallis will obtain $363,199.
“The economic challenges of this public health crisis have slammed Oregonians, many of whom are now facing the added and ongoing threat of wildfires bearing down on their communities… I’m gratified these funds will be available to help Oregon families to make rent and stay in their homes, and I will keep battling to provide all available housing resources throughout our state,” Wyden said in an online statement.
Due to quarantine and the economic shutdown this spring, many have struggled to pay rent with limited, if any, income. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has allowed the funding, which will be a Community Development Block Grant.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUB), will allocate the funds among nearly 20 different communities throughout Oregon.
The city to receive the most funds is Portland with $4,501,662, followed by Eugene with $1,016,237 and Salem with $860,354.
This funding announcement comes shortly after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) halt in evictions order commenced on Sept. 4, which protects renters from being evicted through Dec. 31. While it provides some safety for renters, it does require they try to obtain government assistance for housing and make their best efforts to pay partial rental payments, among other things, since the landlords have bills as well. This funding will offer extra relief and more obtainable resources for both renters and landlords alike.
“As Oregonians struggle to stay safe from both raging wildfires and the coronavirus, access to safe, affordable housing is only becoming more urgent… These housing assistance grants will help tackle that problem, but much more support is needed. We all need to keep working to help keep roofs over Oregonians’ heads throughout this unprecedented and difficult chapter,” Merkley said in Wyden’s statement.
By Jessica Goddard