Alert: Issue with some checks printed with missing routing number

Are you having problems with cashing your Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) check? Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) discovered that a batch of checks for payments through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program had a printing error. The issue with this particular batch of 468 checks is that they were printed with a digit missing from the routing number. We have confirmed that banks are able to cash those checks, and that hundreds from this batch have indeed been cashed or deposited. None of the checks have bounced or will bounce. All checks are valid and can be deposited or cashed. However, we have been notified that some consumers have had issues with cashing or depositing checks at some check cashing businesses rather than banks. OHCS deeply regrets any inconvenience this issue may be causing tenants or landlords. Public Partnerships is contacting all affected tenants and landlords individually with instructions on how to cash the check that they already have or, if they prefer, receive a reissued check. If an individual has been affected by this issue or needs assistance they can call 844-378-2931.

About the Pause

Why did OHCS pause accepting new applications?

With the total amount of Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) rental assistance paid, obligated and requested to date from applications in the queue,  OHCS doesn’t have enough federal funding to continue accepting new OERAP applications at this time.

What does the new application pause mean for me?

If you have submitted a completed application, your application will be processed. If you have an incomplete application, you will need to complete it by Wednesday, December 1 at 11:59pm. If you have not applied and need rental assistance, you will have until Wednesday, December 1 at 11:59pm to apply for OERAP. After that, you will need to visit the Tenant Resources page for other rental and utility assistance support.

My application hasn’t been processed. What will happen to it?

If it was successfully submitted and completed by Wednesday, December 1 at 11:59pm, it will be processed. You may log into the application portal to see what stage of the process your application is at any time.

I need emergency rental assistance. Where else can I get help?

You can apply for OERAP until Wednesday, December 1 at 11:59pm. After that, you will need to visit the Tenant Resources page or call 2-1-1 for other rental and utility assistance support.

I started an application but didn’t complete it. Can I still do that?

You need to complete your application by Wednesday, December 1 at 11:59pm.

Will my application still be processed during the pause?

Yes. All completed applications will be processed. Incomplete applications will need to be finalized and submitted prior to the pause.

When will you begin accepting new applications again?

We are working hard to secure additional funding for this program. We are planning to start accepting applications again after the 6-week pause. We will continue to share updates at www.oregonrentalassistance.org or you can call 2-1-1 if you need support.

Is there a waitlist?

At this time, there will not be a waitlist. We want to ensure that any applications received are able to be paid. We do not want to set an unrealistic expectation that tenants will receive assistance until we have clear commitments for additional funding and have a clear timeline for when we will receive additional funding.

Can my application be backdated during the pause?

No. Your application date is based on the day you submit your completed application.

Will new applications be accepted after the pause ends?

We are optimistic that we will receive additional federal funding, but we do not know when. We hope to be able to open the portal again at the beginning of January 2022.

Where do I mail my application to before December 1?

Visit the Tenant Resources page to find out the address of your Local Public Administrator. Applications must be postmarked by December 1, 2021.

About the Program

How much money is available?

The Federally Funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program makes available $25B to assist households across the country that are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Oregon, through Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), received approximately $204M to launch the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP). Additionally, the City of Portland, and the counties of Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Lane and Marion received their own allocations adding up to $76M.

How will it be distributed among eligible applicants?

Funding is distributed based on a formula that prioritizes applications based on need. It is not first-come-first-serve. Everyone who applies will have their application reviewed. For more information about how applications are prioritized, see the Prioritization Information page.

If I receive assistance, do I have to pay it back?

No. This assistance is not a loan and does not have to be paid back by the tenant if the funds are used as approved and do not duplicate other assistance programs.

If I receive assistance will my other benefits like food stamps and housing assistance be impacted?

No. If you receive this assistance it will not impact your eligibility for any federally funded program such as food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, social security, WIC or public housing. If your landlord won’t take payment directly, we may offer the funds directly to you. Those funds would not be considered income for federal tax purposes and would not impact your eligibility for federally funded programs. This protection is built into the law that provides this assistance. If you receive a benefit that is not federally funded, please check with the benefit administrator.

What costs will be covered?

You may request rent assistance back to March 13, 2020. Prior past due rent is not eligible. The Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will cover up to 12 months of past due rent and three months of forward rent.

Is there a maximum amount of how much assistance is allowed?

No, there is generally no cap on dollar amount of rent assistance. However, there is a limit on the total number of months of assistance that can be received. The program can provide twelve months of assistance, starting from March 13, 2020 – present, with possibility to pay future rent for 3 months.
Additional limits may be imposed depending on availability of resources.

Can I request more than one month of assistance?

Yes. Approved applicants may be eligible for twelve months of assistance, starting from March 13, 2020 – present, with possibility to pay future rent for 3 months. You are encouraged to request three future months of rent coverage when you apply for past rent if you expect to be living in that unit in the future. You may need to provide additional information to confirm that you are still eligible for assistance and assistance depends on available resources.

Can the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program cover late fees?

Yes. Reasonable late fees can be covered and should be listed on a rent statement or ledger from your landlord.

What fees are covered?

Assistance will cover fees that are directly tied to your housing stability and that are charged by the landlord. Examples include, pet fees, parking garage fees, storage fees, and amenities fees. You can also include relocation expenses, which may include rental security deposits, and application or screening fees if a household has been temporarily displaced due to COVID-19. You can also include hotel or motel costs here.

How do I know if the email I received is from a legitimate source?

It’s important to be aware of scammers who may try to steal your information. To ensure the information you receive is accurate and complete, double check that the organization is a reputable governmental, tribal or nonprofit partner. The best way to stay informed is to log into Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program application portal and check your application status. Learn more about how to avoid scammers.

Tenant Eligibility

I applied for my local emergency rental assistance program and already provided this information. Can I still apply for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program?

You cannot receive federal Emergency Rental Assistance for the same months from two programs. Please select one program to apply to for assistance. You can apply to cover other months that you still need assistance for.

I’m homeless. Can I still receive assistance?

Funds from the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program may be able to pay three months of upcoming rent if a homeless individual enters into a new rental lease. A case manager may be able to assist. Please call 211 or visit 211info.org for help.

How do I know if my income qualifies? What sources of income include household income?

In the application, you will include income from all sources for all household members 18 years of age and older that are part of the household. This includes wages, unemployment compensation, gig economy income, tips, business income, self-employment income, retirement, pensions, Social Security benefits, and Supplemental Social Security income. Income eligibility will be based on either the household’s total income in 2020, or the monthly income the household is receiving at the time of application. If you decide to use your monthly income at time of application, that monthly income will be multiplied by 12 months to determine whether your household’s income exceeds 80% AMI. If your household qualifies based on monthly income, you will need to recertify your income every three months.

Can I apply for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program if I live with roommates?

Yes. Everyone living in the unit is considered part of the household and must apply together, unless they are in a clearly documented arrangement to rent part of a home separately. All adults must provide income documentation.

Can I apply if I live in public housing, have Section 8 or a Housing Choice Voucher, or other housing assistance?

Yes. You may apply for the amount of rent you are required to pay as long as those costs have not been paid with other assistance and you meet all program eligibility requirements.

If I did not contract COVID-19, can I still apply?

If you have experienced financial hardship and/or housing instability, including inability to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible.

Can I apply regardless of my citizenship or residency state?

Yes. The Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program welcomes all renters that meet the criteria to apply for rent assistance. The application does not require immigration or citizenship status documentation.

What types of rental properties are eligible for assistance?

The following types of residential rental properties are eligible for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program:

  • Apartments
  • Single-family homes
  • Rented manufactured homes
  • Rented manufactured home lots (pad rent)
  • Hotel and motel stays as the renter’s primary residence
  • Other informal lease arrangements, subject to review
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

If a renter has been evicted and/or moved from the unit, are they eligible for assistance to pay rent arrears on the former unit with this program?

Yes, it is possible to receive assistance from a former unit. If you are requesting arrears at a former address, please contact the Program Administrator in your region directly for guidance on how to input your application materials. Find out who your local Program Administrator is and what their mailing address is here.

Are short-term hotel or motel stays eligible?

Households in a hotel or motel can attest that they are paying rent on the room and need assistance. We cannot cover short-term rent or shelter costs covered by emergency funds, such as FEMA assistance.

What if my form of identification, for example my driver’s license, is expired?

Expired forms of identification are acceptable for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Application Process

What are the steps to apply?

See Tips for Success: How to Apply on the Tenant Information page.

What documents do I need to provide?

See the Tenant Checklist on the Tenant Information page.

How will I know the status of my application?

You may log into the application portal to see what stage of the process your application is at any time. The system will email you when your application is processed and moves to the next step or if any additional documentation is required.

My rent is due by the first of the month. Can assistance be provided to my landlord that fast? How long will it take to receive approval and payment?

Once an application is determined to be eligible and ready for processing, rental assistance will be provided directly to the landlord or property owner to whom it is due as soon as possible. Due to the anticipated high volume of applications, at this time we cannot guarantee a timeframe for application review and processing. Applicants who receive notice of an incomplete application must provide all necessary information to move their application forward. Funding will not be reserved for incomplete applications. Please continue to communicate with your landlord while your application is pending.

Do I have to apply online? Is there a paper application available?

All applicants are encouraged to apply online if they can. If that is not possible, you may download and print a paper application here. If you print your application, you will need to mail it to your local Program Administrator. Find out who your local Program Administrator is and what their mailing address is here.

What internet browser do I need to use for the application?

The application works best with Google Chrome. If you do not have the most recent version, you can download it at Google Chrome.

What if I made a mistake on my application after submission?

Go to the Tenant Resources page to contact your local Program Administrator.

What if I don’t have a lease?

If you don’t have a lease, you and your landlord can fill out a Verification of Landlord/Tenant Relationship and Rent Owed form here. If your landlord cannot or will not sign this form, alternatively you can fill out a self-verification form here.

Landlord Questions

I am a landlord. Why can’t I apply directly? Do I need my tenants to participate?

Per federal rules, tenants are required to provide private information about themselves and the program must protect that data. The tenant must also sign the application to request assistance. Landlords can support tenants by helping gather the materials they need to apply, providing a paper application, and communicating with tenants about their situation. Please review the Landlord Checklist on the Landlord Information page.

My landlord is refusing to cooperate. As a tenant, am I able to apply for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program and receive funds?

Yes! We encourage you to submit an application. If your landlord does not agree to receive payments on your behalf, payments can be sent directly to you, the tenant. If this is the case, please follow up directly with your local Program Administrator for additional information and support.

Other Questions?

Connect with your Program Administrator by visiting the Tenant Resources page.