Beginning next week, $200,000 in emergency cash assistance from the City of Portland will be available to households suffering a loss of income due to COVID-19. The funding comes from the Emergency Household Stabilization Fund (EHSF) – $1 million reallocated from the Portland Housing Bureau’s (PHB) budget to provide limited direct cash assistance for urgent household needs like groceries, rent, utilities, and medical expenses.
“This pandemic is hitting everyone hard, so it’s reassuring to know that the PHB is helping those most in need during this crisis,” Mayor Wheeler said. “Every little bit helps and the City of Portland is working to identify even more resources to ensure economic resilience and recovery.”
The funds will be distributed by 211info through an open application. On Monday, April 27 at 10am, households can apply to 211 for $250 in EHFS assistance by calling 2-1-1 or going to https://www.211info.org/covid19. Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. 211 staff will also work to connect applicants to additional community resources and assistance, such as discounts for sewer and water charges, crisis vouchers, and the Utility Safety Net program offered by the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau.
To be eligible for EHSF assistance, a household must be experiencing a loss of employment, income, dependent care, or some other hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and earning no more than 50% Area Median Income prior to any loss of employment or income due to COVID-19.
Applicants will need to include documentation of the COVID-related hardship they are experiencing with their application, such as a letter from an employer, clients or customers, a healthcare provider, or school citing COVID-19 as a reason for reduced hours, termination, loss of business, school closure, loss of childcare, or inability to work, etc.
The remaining $800,000 in the EHSF will be distributed via internal referrals through a network of social service providers serving culturally specific communities, and individuals and families experiencing homelessness and housing instability. Around 2,000 households are expected to benefit from the EHSF.