How to Find Rent Assistance in Oregon
UPDATE 11/18/2021: OERAP will stop accepting applications on December 1, 20221
By Miranda Manzano
There is help for Oregon renters who feel financial stress. The burden of months of past due rent and potential eviction combined with changing regulations make it hard to know where to start. In other words, renters can find help right now! APPLY FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE.
Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) can provide eligible households with assistance with back due rent, future rent, utilities, and fees. It can also immediately provide protection from eviction for 60 days, or 90 days in Multnomah County. In addition, these programs help pay back rent, current rent, future rent, utilities, and other housing expenses
Just by applying, you will become eligible for immediate eviction protections.
What is OERAP?
OERAP is a federally funded program operating in the state of Oregon to assist households struggling to pay rent and utilities. Eligible households may receive assistance on past due rent and utilities for up to 12 months. This assistance is not a loan and does not need to be paid back.
What are my rights as a renter?
Two key things to know are:
All renters automatically qualify for the “grace period”. This includes rent due from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Back rent is not due until Feb. 28, 2022. You cannot be evicted for back rent accumulated during this grace period. Furthermore, it cannot be reported to credit or collections agencies and it cannot be used against you when applying for housing.
Safe harbor period
Firstly, if you are behind on rent since July 1, 2021, you are entitled to a 10-day nonpayment notice. You may apply for assistance and be temporarily protected from eviction by the “safe harbor period.”
Secondly, a safe harbor is 60 days protection against eviction or 90 days in Multnomah County. To benefit from safe harbor you need to apply for rent assistance and show your landlord that you have done so. The safe harbor period begins immediately once providing the proof to your landlord. This is meant to allow time for your application to be processed.
Do I qualify for rent assistance in Oregon?
- To qualify for assistance you must be an Oregon renter, be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and meet the income requirements.
- There are a wide variety of documents a renter can provide to prove they are eligible for rent assistance.
- Your primary residence must be in Oregon but this can include hotel or motel stays, section 8 housing, and there is a review process for informal lease arrangements.
- There is no requirement to prove immigration or citizenship status.
- COVID-19 impact requirement:
- At least one member of your household has to have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of impact are reduced income, qualifying for unemployment, or incurring additional costs.
- Household income must be at or below 80% of your county’s median income. This is the combined income of everyone in the household 18 and over.
- Plus, you can qualify based on your 2020 income or current monthly income at the time of your application.
Keep in Mind for Rent Assistance in Oregon
- If approved for assistance, it’s paid directly to your landlord or utility company. There are alternative steps if your landlord is not cooperative.
- This is not taxable income and does not affect other federally funded assistance you might receive.
- If you previously applied and receive assistance you may still be eligible for additional relief towards future months rent.
- Immigration and citizenship status do not matter.
Free Legal Advice
For free legal advice or more information go to oregonlawhelp.org. Use an interactive map to find legal aid near you at oregonlawhelp.org//resource/oregon-legal-aid-offices. Call the Eviction Defense Project at (888) 585-9638. In Portland call, Portland Regional Office – Oregon Law Center at (800) 672-4919 Mon and Weds, 9 – 1.
Other resources for renters in Oregon and Portland metro area:
For Washington County residents
Also offers utility assistance.
For Clackamas County residents
Coordinated Housing Access
For renters in Cottage Grove and Creswell
Community Sharing Project
Also offers utility assistance.
For renters in Yamhill County