Oregon Restructures Approach to Distributing Renters’ Assistance Funds

Oregon is currently having a problem getting federal aid out to the people who need it. Renters and landlords have been waiting for the over $204 million of aid for months and while $123,735,586 have been allocated, only $69,611,857 has been physically given out 

Ron Garcia, executive director of Rental Housing Alliance Oregon, calls it a “failure of government action.” Part of this failure stems from just how overwhelmed Oregon’s rental assistance program is.  

According to Margaret Salazar, Executive Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, they have processed more rental assistance this year than in the last decade. 

A huge contributing factor to the delay is the lack of a centralized intake system. Salazar is hopeful that this will change, as she’s been granted authority by the federal government to streamline the application process. This should increase the speed of application processing times. 

Salazar also outlined two more steps in the plan to hand out the rest of the assistance money. One step is using Public Partnership LLC, an outside vendor, to help process the applications. The other is setting a processing goal of getting through 2,000-3,000 applications a week. That should allow the OHCS to get through most of the applications in six to nine weeks. 

While it will take a little more time for everyone to get their money, Salazar has said that the federal government won’t be taking any of the assistance money back. Likely that pool of cash will be added to later in the year with the next wave of assistance funds. 

By Jalen Todd