April 18, 2022
Sponsored by: Housing Services Department
Washington County Will Reach Capacity in its Emergency Rental Assistance program effective Friday, May 6th
Beginning Friday, May 6th, Community Action will cease taking applications for its Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program to ensure that it can meet obligations for applications currently in the pipeline. The purpose of the ERA program has been to help stabilize households unable to pay rent and utilities due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington County estimates that nearly all the $29 million in federal emergency rental assistance allocated to Community Action has been requested by community members, and the program will be fully committed in the coming weeks, meaning the anticipated dollar requests in the application pipeline will reach the threshold of what is available. All applications from eligible households who apply by end of day May 6, including current pending applications, will be processed.
To-date, Community Action has paid out $16 million in local emergency rental assistance providing relief to more than 2,100 renters impacted by the pandemic. Another $13 million is available to service received applications. Considering all funds managed by Community Action combined, the agency has pumped over $46 million into the community since the pandemic began and helped to forestall over 5,000 evictions. Another $41 million from the State of Oregon’s ERA program has also supported Washington County community members. 53% of all households served by Community Action are from communities of color. 70% of the households served had incomes below 30% median family income (or incomes below $29,000 for a family of four) highlighting the impact on people most vulnerably housed.
In the impending weeks and months, the County will continue to pursue solutions to help renter households. “The fact is, the need for emergency rental assistance is far greater than the amount of federal funding available for the program at this time,” said Washington County Chair, Kathryn Harrington. “Despite having these programs, renters are still at risk of losing their homes and we are concerned about the many renters who may potentially experience the trauma of eviction.”
Community Action may, on its own, reopen its application portal as funds from other sources become available; however, at this time the larger sources of federal assistance are fully committed through the Community Action pathways. This is a concern beyond Washington County, especially after June 30th when the statewide eviction protections end. Meanwhile, Washington County will continue to explore all options through local, state, and federal avenues.
Washington County continues to encourage landlords to contact Home Forward, the administrators of the State’s Landlord Guarantee Program, which will remain in place until the summer of 2023 or until funds are fully obligated, whichever comes first. Landlords may reach out to explore options under that program via phone at (503) 802-8532; by e-mail, [email protected]; or through their website: www.oregonlgp.org/contact.
Media Contact:Emily Roots, Public Affairs Administrator