This Thursday, Oregon lawmakers allotted $30 million in state funds to COVID-19 relief efforts. This included $12 to rental assistance and shelter alternatives, $10 million to the Department of Administrative Services for workers who don’t qualify for unemployment, $5 million to the Oregon Business Development Department for small business assistance, $2 million to the Department of Justice for domestic and sexual assault victim emergency housing, and $3.35 million to DHS for COVID-19 testing and training for care workers.
The funds are in addition to $5 million given to the Oregon Health Authority on March 9.
The Legislature Emergency Board, who are responsible for emergency funding, met virtually for the first time ever, to decide on relief fund allocation.
Rental assistance details: Per the Board, at least $8.5 of the $12 million must be allocated to landlords, targeting low-income renters who make 50 percent or less of their region’s median income. The remaining funds will go to housing at-risk populations in places like hotels or motels.
Business loans: The $5 million allocated to small businesses will be directed to loans and grants for businesses with 25 employees or less.
For unemployed immigrants: Immigrants not eligible for unemployment will benefit from the $10 million allocated to create a grant program via the Oregon Community Foundation. Community organizers will determine eligible individuals and aid them in applying. Candidates must be Oregon residents who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. The program will replace lost wages up to $590 per week.
By Stevie Beisswanger