With Oregon lawmakers meeting inside the capitol Monday to draw up new political boundaries, a group that advocates for renters held a press conference outside the building to call for action on extending an eviction moratorium that expired in June.
The Community Alliance of Tenants says eviction filings in Oregon have doubled since May and a state program meant to provide rental relief assistance is suffering from a massive backlog of applications.
Amber Cook has been helping renters apply for the funds at the northeast Portland affordable housing complex where she lives. Cook said many in her building have exhausted all other options by now.
“If people can move in with family, they’ve already done that. If they have savings, they’ve used up that savings. There really isn’t anywhere for them to go at this point,” she said.
Cook said many of her neighbors in the apartment building had suffered a loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oregon’s Housing and Community Services Department says more than $34 million in renter relief has been paid out so far. But many people who applied months ago are still waiting for a response.
That’s one reason why Community Alliance of Tenants brought their message to the state capitol. “We asking (lawmakers) to extend the eviction moratorium and do everything in their power to help the state to get the money into (renters’) hands as quickly as possible,” said Kim McCarty, the organization’s executive director.