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NeighborImpact distributes another $6.5 million in emergency rental aid, has more to provide

Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance website
State of Oregon
Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance website

Applications are being accepted until next year - or funds run out

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon nonprofit NeighborImpact said Monday it has distributed $6.5 million of Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds to Central Oregon households in less than four months, and is still accepting applications.

These dollars, provided by Oregon Housing and Community Services, pay rent, rent arrears, future rent and certain home utility costs for households that have been financially impacted by COVID.

The total funds distributed by NeighborImpact to date represent just over 60 percent of the total $10.6 million allocated for distribution in the Central Oregon region. The incredible efficiency with which the agency has dispersed the relief contributes to Oregon’s ranking of eighth in the nation in distribution of federal COVID-related rent relief.

With an average payment of $6,671 per household, NeighborImpact has provided OERAP rent relief to 1,018 households, 27 percent of which identify as households of color or Hispanic. NeighborImpact paid rents in all three Central Oregon counties and at the Warm Springs reservation.

Funding for the program is passed through the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, which has set out the general guidelines for the program. A troubled software system designated by the state slowed early distribution of funding, but improvements to the system have sped up the outflow of payments in recent weeks.

Prior to receiving OERAP funds, NeighborImpact had already distributed $7.25 million in rent relief from April 2020 to June 2021, bringing the total relief regionally to $13.75 million, to date.

“The need for rent assistance during this unexpected and difficult time in history has been constant,” said NeighborImpact Bilingual Rent Relief Specialist, Ingrid Sanchez. “We are very fortunate to have an awesome team of rent relief intake specialists who are able to help our Central Oregon community with providing rent assistance in such an efficient manner.”

NeighborImpact is still accepting applications for the rent relief program. Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until 2022 or until program funds run out. In most cases, payment will be made by NeighborImpact directly to the landlord or utility provider. Those applying through NeighborImpact’s website will be redirected to the state assistance portal, as required by the Oregon Housing and Community Services.

Relief resources will be distributed to those who meet the following federal eligibility requirements:

--have income less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) which varies by county;

--have an individual in the household who has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic; Priority is given to households earning less than 50 percent of Area Median Income.

--demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability due to past-due rent or utilities.

“It is incredibly rewarding to be able to serve our neighbors with this level of resources at this time in history,” said NeighborImpact Executive Director Scott Cooper. “And that is not all. Whether it is food or energy assistance or weatherization or help for homeowners or sustaining childcare providers, NeighborImpact is in the thick of it. With our federal and state partners, we are supporting people, strengthening the communities we serve and sustaining and investing in a better Central Oregon.”

To find out additional information about criteria or to apply to the OERAP program, visit www.oregonrentalassistance.org or www.neighborimpact.org/covid-rent-relief.

About NeighborImpact: NeighborImpact is a private non-profit governed by a board of directors drawn from across the community. Since 1985, NeighborImpact has led the region in developing solutions and bringing resources to Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. We help meet the basic needs of Central Oregonians, build economic security and create a community where everyone thrives. NeighborImpact receives federal, state and local grants, foundation grants and donations from individuals and businesses in our community. To learn more about NeighborImpact please visit www.neighborimpact.org.

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