For those who have fallen behind on rent due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marion County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is here to provide aid for struggling families.
The program, which came to fruition in August, helps eligible low-income households who are a month or more behind in rent payments. The program covers up to 12 months of past due rent and may pay up to three months of forward rent at a time, not to exceed a total of 18 months of assistance — past rent dues must be paid before future rent coverage is eligible.
The County was able to secure just over $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury for emergency rental assistance.
According to County Commissioner Danielle Bethell, rental assistance has been one of the biggest priorities in Marion County during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is one of the top five needs in our county,” Bethell said.
The program also covers utility costs, including electricity, gas, home energy services, water, sewer, trash removal and bulk fuels.
“People don’t realize that these funds also cover utilities. I really want people to know that,” Bethell said.
Bethell also said that landlords can apply for the program on behalf of their tenants.
“It doesn’t just have to be the tenant, but you have to get both on board in order to be successful,” Bethell said.
The U.S Treasury requires 30% of the allocated funds to be used by Nov. 15, which is why Bethell is encouraging people to apply for the program as soon as possible.
“It’s not going to be here forever so people should secure the opportunity while they can,” Bethell said.
To be eligible for the program, households must have their primary residence in Oregon and be behind on their payments. Eligible properties include apartments, single-family homes, rented manufactured homes and rented manufactured home lots.
Additionally, one or more members of the household must demonstrate how the COVID-19 pandemic has directly or indirectly impacted their ability to pay rent or utilities. This may include if one or more members of the household has qualified for unemployment, experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or otherwise experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. “Household members” includes everyone living in the unit at the time of application, including family members and roommates.
Lastly, applicants must have their annual household income be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income for their household size. Household income includes all income sources for all residents that are age 18 and older — income eligibility is based on either the household’s total income in 2020, or the monthly income the household is receiving at the time of application. View the chart below to see the Area Median Income chart for Marion County (Ex: A three-person household’s income would have to make a combined $40,000 per year or less in order to qualify).
In addition to the federal eligibility requirements, Marion County has prioritized the following households:
• Families with children (at least one adult and one child)
• Seniors (age 58 years or older)
• Households affected by the 2020 Santiam Canyon wildfires
• Households referred by Marion County department programs
Apply online at https://www.rentrelief.com/marioncounty/ or call the Marion County customer service line toll free at 1-833-227-5161 for assistance with your application.
Matt Rawlings: [email protected]