New rent assistance resources through the Portland Housing Bureau will help ensure housing stability for Portland households impacted by the COVID-19 crisis
The Mayor’s Budget, unanimously approved by Portland City Council last week, dedicates $8.35 million in emergency rent assistance to Portland households impacted by the COVID-19 crisis starting in July. The funding is the latest in a series of actions being taken by the City to ensure community-wide resilience and recovery from the crisis.
The budget reallocates $4.5 million in existing federal funds for rent assistance, plus an additional $3.85 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) revenue allocated to the City through the CARES act. The funds are expected to provide at least three months of emergency rent assistance to approximately 2,000 households.
“We have a responsibility as a City to help those in our community who are more in need during this difficult time,” Mayor Wheeler said. “ Every element of the Approved Budget is viewed through an equity lens and this funding provides a platform to ensure housing stability for those in our frontline communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis.”
Program details, including eligibility, as well as when and how the funds will be made available to the public are currently in development. The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) is working in coordination with Home Forward, the Joint Office of Homeless Services and other Multnomah County departments, to plan for distribution of the funds. PHB expects to have a proposed program framework availability for community feedback in June.
“Our goal is to develop the best possible program design to assist communities identified by City Council as those most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color, people with disabilities, and those facing significant barriers to access,” Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan said. “We know how much our fellow Portlanders are hurting, and we want to ensure we can do everything we can to help stabilize Portland families.”
The framework will be finalized by late June, with program implementation starting July 1, 2020.