BREAKING: Oregon legislature approves $215 MILLION for rent assistance, extending eviction protections

The Oregon Legislature on Monday approved $215 million in funding to extend protections for renters facing eviction and provide more rent assistance to Oregonians.

Lawmakers earmarked $100 million for rent assistance, another $5 million to the state housing agency to speed its processing of applications for aid, and $10 million toward a fund to pay landlords even if their tenants don’t get rent assistance. They also funneled $100 million toward long-term renter protections and eviction prevention efforts.

The bill will also extend evictions protections for renters who have applied for aid. Renters will be protected from evictions from the time they apply until their application has been processed, discarding the 60-day eviction delay currently in place.

The Legislature also approved:

• A $100 million drought relief package, including $40 million to help farmers waiting for federal aid, $12 million in well assistance for residents of the Klamath Basin, $9.7 million in drought relief on Klamath tribal lands and $1 million for farmers of color.

• $25 million for a plan to address illegal cannabis production statewide and the “humanitarian impacts” associated with it. Legislators raised concerns over the dangers that laborers face and the strain on local law enforcement to deal with illegal grow sites.

• $18.2 million to help Afghan refugees settling in Oregon. The money would provide for services including housing and interpretation.

• $2 million to stem and prevent gun violence in east Multnomah County through outreach, mentorship and culturally specific youth programs.

• $14 million for affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs in the state’s 14 largest cities.

Lawmakers plan to pay for the new spending with a combination of federal stimulus money from the American Rescue Plan Act approved in March and state general fund money, which largely comes from income taxes [Oregon Live].

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