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Gov. Brown calls special session to address eviction protections as federal funds run out

KTVZ file

To address immediate needs over winter months, also ensure landlords are paid rent owed

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that she will be calling the Legislature into special session in two weeks, on Dec. 13 to address eviction protections for renters.

Here's the rest of her news release, in full:

“As we enter our coldest months, it is absolutely essential that we take action to ensure no additional Oregon families are evicted when rental assistance is on the way,” said Governor Brown. “I have spoken directly with Oregon renters in recent weeks about the pain and hardship their families have faced due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. We must take legislative action now to approve additional state funding for rental assistance, and to extend eviction protections for Oregonians who have applied for assistance.

“Our federal funds for rental assistance will be nearly spent on December 1. I am continuing to work with federal officials at U.S. Treasury and the White House to secure additional federal emergency rental assistance funding for Oregon, but it is clear that a state solution is needed to address the urgent and immediate needs of Oregon renters. And, we must begin laying the groundwork now for the transition to local eviction prevention services after federal pandemic emergency programs draw to an end.”

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) received $289 million in federal rental assistance funds to help Oregon renters impacted by COVID-19. As of last week, OHCS and their local partners had paid out close to $150 million in federal emergency rental assistance to over 22,000 households––with Oregon ranking eighth in the nation for federal funds paid or obligated.

OHCS and its partners have received more than 25,000 additional applications and continue to review and approve thousands of those applications each week. Nearly $20 million was paid to renters over the previous two weeks. OHCS has calculated that all remaining federal rental assistance funds will have been requested by December 1.

After conversations with legislative leaders, stakeholders, landlord associations, and housing advocates, the Governor is proposing the following framework to prevent further evictions:
• Extend eviction safe harbor protections for each individual who has applied for rental assistance.
• Ensure landlords are paid in full for the rent they are owed.
• Provide up to $90 million in additional rental assistance to ensure low-income tenants access through the winter.
• Provide $100 million to transition from large-scale pandemic-related emergency rental assistance to long-term, locally-delivered eviction prevention services.

The package would address the immediate needs of Oregon renters through the winter months. Legislators may also be asked to take on additional time-sensitive issues during the special session that require action before February 2022.


Other news releases:

Senate President’s Statement on Governor’s Call for December Special Session

SALEM, Ore. – Today, Governor Kate Brown announced she will convene the Legislature for a second Special Session on December 13, 2021. Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) issued the following statement:

“The Governor has called us in on December 13. That’s two weeks from today. Special sessions are the most difficult of all sessions. Everything must be carefully planned. We have a lot of work to do. I hope we will be ready.”


Legislative Majority Leaders’ Joint Statement on Special Session for Housing Protections

SALEM—Today Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) release a statement following Governor Kate Brown’s announcement calling on the Legislature to convene for a special session on December 13, 2021 to extend rental and housing assistance:

“We applaud the Governor’s leadership in calling a special session and commend the chairs of the Legislature’s housing committees, Rep. Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) and Sen. Kayse Jama (D-Portland), for their hard work to develop a plan that will keep Oregonians housed and support landlords. From the start of the pandemic, Oregon has committed to protecting individuals and families at risk of eviction. We can take action in a special session to ensure this doesn’t happen and that we keep our promise to Oregonians. No one should lose their housing because of administrative delays.”


Statement on Special Session from Chairs of the Legislature's Housing Committees

SALEM, OR - Today Governor Kate Brown announced that she is calling the Legislature to convene a special session on December 13, 2021.

In June, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 278 nearly unanimously to create a 60-day safe harbor for tenants who were waiting in line for rental assistance after the statewide eviction moratorium expired. But application processing times at many local community action agencies have been significantly longer than expected back in June.

This means more than 10,000 Oregon households are at risk of timing out of their safe harbor protections and facing eviction for nonpayment simply because of administrative delays in processing their applications. Other states facing this problem, like Minnesota and Nevada, have passed bipartisan legislation to create safe harbor policies for tenants with pending applications.

Additionally, nearly all federal rental assistance has been committed to tenants in need, even as the pandemic continues.

In response to these developments, Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) and Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), the chairs of the legislature’s housing committees, issued the following statement:

“No Oregonian should be evicted while rental assistance is on the way. A special session is the only way to prevent this. Thanks to Governor Brown, the legislature is officially on track to fulfill our promise to Oregon renters.

“After months of work, we have developed a proposal to extend the state’s bipartisan safe harbor protections and provide additional funds for direct rent assistance that will benefit both tenants and housing providers. As we head into the holiday season and the coldest winter months, this special session package will prevent heartbreaking evictions and support small housing providers who have made major sacrifices throughout the pandemic.”


From Stable Homes for Oregon Families:


Advocates praise Gov. Kate Brown calling special session to stop preventable evictions

Today Gov. Kate Brown called for a special session on December 13, 2021 for lawmakers to take action so that people who have applied for rent assistance from state and local agencies cannot be evicted during the application process. She also called  for $190 million in total additional rent assistance. Here is a statement from Stable Homes for Oregon Families: 

“Governor Brown’s call is welcome news for the thousands of renting families and individuals who are living every day with the threat of eviction because the rent assistance they applied for has been delayed for months. We also appreciate all the state lawmakers who have been working together on a solution. Tenants are counting on the legislature to ensure no one loses their home while their applications are pending and also to provide additional funding to help keep people safe and stable during this time of ongoing economic upheaval.” 

Background: 

Current state and local law says no one can be evicted for 60 or 90 days - depending on the county - after showing landlords proof of applying for assistance. But according to Oregon Housing and Community Services, more than 10,500 Oregon Households are at risk of eviction because their applications still haven’t been processed after two or three months. Since July 1, court eviction filings for non-payment have increased six-fold and the application logjam means thousands and thousands of renting households are at risk

More than 60 local and statewide advocacy, health care, faith-based organizations as well as housing providers, local governments and labor unions are supporting action to protect tenants in the special session. They include: 

211 Info

AARP Oregon

ACLU Oregon

Basic Rights Oregon

Cascade Aids Project

City of Beaverton

City of Bend

City of Gresham

City of Hillsboro

City of Portland

Clackamas Women’s Services

Coalition of Communities of Color

Community Alliance of Tenants

Compact of Free Association Alliance  National Network

Community Action Partnership of Oregon

Consejo Hispano

DevNW

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Fair Shot for All

Family Forward Oregon

Habitat for Humanity of Oregon

Health Share of Oregon

Home Forward

Housing Alliance

Housing Authority of Oregon

Housing Oregon

Human Solutions

JOIN

Lane County Oregon

Latino Network

Metro

Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good

Metropolitan Family Services

Multnomah County

NAMI Oregon

Northwest Family Services

Northwest Pilot Project

Oregon AFL-CIO

Oregon AFSCME 

Oregon Center for Public Policy Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Oregon Coalition of Christian Voices

Oregon Consumer Justice

Oregon Education Association

Oregon Food Bank

Oregon Law Center

Oregon Nurses Association

Oregon Primary Care Association

Oregon Renters in Action

Project Access Now

Raphael House of Portland

Rent Well

Residents Organizing for Change Oregon

Rogue Action Center

SATF Oregon

SEIU

Springfield Eugene Tenants Association

Transition Projects

Unite Oregon

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette

Washington County 

We Can Do Better

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