Frequently Asked Questions
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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 and utilities 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 and/or utility assistance back to March 13, 2020. Prior past due rent and utilities are not eligible. The Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will cover up to 12 months of past due rent and three months of forward rent. The program will also cover past due utility costs including electricity, gas, home energy services, water, sewer and trash removal. Costs that will NOT be covered include: homeowner costs, homeowner utilities, landlord-paid utilities, landlord-paid property taxes, property insurance, phone, and renter insurance.
Is there a maximum amount of how much assistance is allowed?
No, there is generally no cap on dollar amount of rent or utility 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. This also applies for utilities. 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.
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 and utilities 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:
- 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)
I am a homeowner. Can I apply for utilities and internet assistance?
No. Program funds, including utility and internet assistance, are only available for renters at this time.
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.
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.
What will I need to provide for utility assistance?
You will need to provide a copy of your past due utility bill that states the dates covered, your account number, and the contact information of your utility company.
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 Additional Assistance 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.
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.
Connect with your Program Administrator by visiting the Additional Assistance page.