COVID-19 Rent Assistance and Housing Stability Resources

Updated April 9, 2021

Are you a Multnomah County resident unable to pay rent because of COVID-19?

Have you lost employment or income due to COVID-19?

Have you been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19?

Have you incurred a significant cost or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19?

Have you experienced direct impacts from a business closure related to COVID-19?

Do you have a compromised health status, face an elevated risk of infection or vulnerability to your health related to COVID-19?

If you answered yes to any of these questions — and if your household gross income is less than 80 percent of the median household income for our region — then you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program (CVRRP). Funds from this program can help with your housing costs, including any current, future or past-due rent.

You are also covered by Oregon’s temporary ban on evictions for non-payment of rent. Learn more about that moratorium and a grace period for repaying outstanding back rent by clicking multco.us/covid-eviction.

Here are some frequently asked questions and links to learn more about the program and how you can apply.

Does eligibility guarantee assistance?

Unfortunately, meeting eligibility requirements will not immediately guarantee access to assistance.

COVID-19 has harmed more households than there is funding available to help. In addition, the limited resources that are available are being prioritized for households that have been affected the most by COVID-19's health and economic impacts. Because of those factors, you may be placed on a wait list, or find that a wait list is temporarily closed.

We know that can feel disappointing or overwhelming. But please be assured that we are committed to getting every dollar of rent assistance possible out to those who need it.

To maximize your chances of getting the assistance you need, we strongly encourage you to keep checking back regularly to see if closed lists have reopened or if new sources of rent assistance are available.

We also strongly encourage you to keep checking all other options in your community networks to obtain rent assistance. And while you're waiting, we encourage you to begin gathering the paperwork and other materials (income statements, etc.) that will be required for your application.

Checking in regularly is important because wait lists will open periodically as we receive new resources from our federal and state partners. We have been urging our partners to continue providing that funding, and thanks to additional federal legislation, more resources are now expected over the coming months.

How can I apply to access COVID-19 rent relief?

To start the application process, go to 211info.org or contact 211. 211 will ask you some basic questions, including your name, preferred language and contact information.

211 will add you to a list of households who have contacted them to apply. As they work through the list, they’ll refer you to a community agency that will help complete your applications and then distribute your rent assistance directly to your landlord or property manager. 

Here’s a COVID-19 rental assistance visual guide (80.45 KB)that illustrates the process.

Will my citizenship status affect my ability to apply?

No. Your citizenship status will not prevent you from applying.

How else will I know if I am eligible? 

To qualify, you need to earn no more than 80% of the region’s median income for a household of your size. Only your current income will be considered. Additional unemployment income issued during the COVID-19 doesn’t count against your eligibility.

Will my money be immediately available?

There will be a waiting period. 

Households should expect to hear back with an update about their application within 3 weeks of their initial call. It might be as long as four to six weeks until your application is completed and your rent assistance is distributed.

What happens if 211’s waitlist says it’s closed?

Depending on demand, you may not be added to 211’s list when you first call. 211 will temporarily close its list any time it reaches roughly 1,000 households. They will reopen the list once the number drops below that threshold.

211 and our community partners are working as quickly as they can to process applications and contact applicants.

Will I need any documents for my application?

Yes. You should gather the documents you’ll need to apply as soon as you can: pay stubs or bank statements that help demonstrate your income; as well as documents that show your housing costs, including any statements that show past-due housing costs, like a late rent notice or note from your landlord.

If you can’t easily obtain those documents, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive help. Alert the agency that’s working with you. Self-certification might be an option.

How much assistance will I receive?

Eligible households can receive assistance to help cover past, current and/or future rent payments. Even if you’ve received assistance previously, you may be eligible to apply again to receive additional assistance. But please know that resources are limited, and all requests will be funded as resources allow.

Will the assistance be sent to me directly?

No, you won’t receive any funds directly; they will be paid on your behalf to your landlord or property management company, for example. 

What can the assistance funding be used for? 

This assistance can be used for the following needs, including:

  • Rent arrears and late fees
  • Current and future rent payments
  • Security and application fees

Mortgage payments are NOT eligible. If you need assistance with your mortgage, you can contact an Oregon Homeownership Center to learn more about available services that might meet your needs.

I’ve heard about Oregon’s eviction moratorium. How does that affect me? 

Starting February 1, 2021, Multnomah County renters who sign and return a “Declaration of Financial Hardship for Eviction Protection” form to their landlord stating that they are unable to afford their rent will be protected by Oregon’s statewide eviction moratorium (HB 4401). The statewide eviction moratorium makes it unlawful for landlords to evict people who are unable to pay their rent and for landlords to evict renters without cause. 

Renters must sign and return the form in order to be protected by the moratorium. Renters do not have to provide proof of their inability to pay.

Landlords are required to issue a notice to renters about the moratorium that includes a declaration form for renters to return to landlords. However, renters are encouraged to submit the declaration form as soon as possible, even before receiving a notice from their landlord. The form only needs to be submitted to a landlord once. Renters are also strongly encouraged to keep a record of when the form was sent and to keep a copy of the signed form for their own records.

Renters may submit their signed form to their landlord in person, by mail, or by sending a copy or photograph of the form by email or text message.

Once the renter has submitted the form, they cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent, evicted without cause or charged any late fees until June 30, 2021. Renters will have until July 1, 2021, to pay back the money they owe. 

If the Oregon State Legislature does not take further action to extend the moratorium or the grace period beyond June 30, 2021, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners will consider additional action to protect renters beyond that date, including by extending the repayment grace period.

If your landlord threatens to evict you, your landlord applies late fees, or you need more guidance, you can seek legal advice and support from community resources like the Community Alliance of Tenants or Legal Aid Services of Oregon.

Learn more about how the eviction moratorium protects you at multco.us/covid-eviction.