Oregon Residents Only Have Until March 14 to Apply for Rental Assistance Funds

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  • Many Oregon residents are still behind on housing payments.
  • There's still rent relief funds available, but the window to apply is dwindling.

There's rent relief to be had -- but applicants need to get moving quickly.

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans lost their jobs or saw their income decline. And those without money in savings to fall back on quickly fell behind on bills, including housing payments.

Normally, not paying rent could easily be grounds for eviction. But because so many tenants landed in that boat at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, lawmakers put protections into place to prevent a widespread homelessness crisis. To that end, they implemented a ban on evictions that didn't expire until the middle of 2021.

At this point, though, tenants who are still behind on rent do risk losing their homes if their landlords decide to move forward with evictions. The good news is that many states are still in the process of accepting applications for rent relief funds and dishing out money to help tenants stay in their homes.

But in Oregon, the window to apply for assistance is quickly closing. If you're an Oregon resident who needs help catching up on overdue rent, you'll need to get moving before you lose that opportunity -- and potentially lose your home.

Apply for aid quickly

More than $289 million in rental assistance funds has been paid out to Oregon residents in need of aid. All told, over 40,000 households have gotten assistance -- and that help may be making it possible for them to stay in their homes rather than face eviction.

But soon, Oregon's rental assistance program will end. Renters who haven't yet requested relief have until 11:59 p.m. on March 14 to submit an application. From there, Oregon's application portal will close so the state can work on processing existing applications and distributing the remainder of its limited funds.

As of now, the state still needs to process 18,000 applications for rental assistance. But those who haven't yet applied for help aren't necessarily going to be bumped to the back of the line. That's because applications will be approved based on need -- not based on order received.

Who's eligible for aid in Oregon?

To qualify for rental assistance in Oregon, you must have someone in your household who meets at least one of these qualifications:

  • Been on unemployment due to the pandemic
  • Experienced a loss of income since the start of the pandemic
  • Incurred added expenses due to COVID-19

You may also need to prove you're at risk of homelessness in the absence of getting assistance. And you'll need to provide some form of income verification (or a certification of no income) to meet income eligibility requirements.

Applicants can request aid to cover past-due rent payments dating back to March 13, 2020. Applicants may also be eligible for up to three months of future rent.

If you qualify for rental assistance, the state will request approval from your landlord or property manager. If approved, that money will be sent to one of those parties directly, not to you. But even if your landlord or property manager doesn't accept those funds, you may still be eligible for relief, so it pays to apply for rental assistance if you think you qualify.

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