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Housing Chairs Defend Special Session
Oregon’s unemployment rate was never as low as 4.4%

Earlier this year, in the regular session, the Legislature passed SB 278 to create what proponents call a 60-day safe harbor for tenants who were waiting in line for rental assistance after the statewide eviction moratorium expired. Application processing times at many local community action agencies have been significantly longer than expected back in June.

This means more than 10,000 Oregon households are at risk of timing out of their safe harbor protections and facing eviction for nonpayment simply because of administrative delays in processing their applications. Other states facing this problem, like Minnesota and Nevada, have passed bipartisan legislation to create safe harbor policies for tenants with pending applications. This is expected to be the subject of the special session called by Governor Brown to be held on December 13.

Additionally, nearly all federal rental assistance has been committed to tenants in need, even as the pandemic continues.

In response to these developments, Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) and Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), the chairs of the legislature’s housing committees, issued the following statement:

“No Oregonian should be evicted while rental assistance is on the way. A special session is the only way to prevent this. Thanks to Governor Brown, the legislature is officially on track to fulfill our promise to Oregon renters.

“After months of work, we have developed a proposal to extend the state’s bipartisan safe harbor protections and provide additional funds for direct rent assistance that will benefit both tenants and housing providers. As we head into the holiday season and the coldest winter months, this special session package will prevent heartbreaking evictions and support small housing providers who have made major sacrifices throughout the pandemic.”

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

According to the Oregon Employment Department which reports statistics on unemployment, "Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% in October, down from 4.7% in September. This is an unusually low unemployment rate for Oregon. Since 1976, when comparable records began, through October 2016, Oregon's unemployment rate was never as low as 4.4%. However, during the economic expansion just prior to the pandemic recession, Oregon's unemployment rate was 4.4% or lower for the 41 consecutive months from November 2016 through March 2020. Oregon's unemployment rate reached a record low of 3.3% in November and December 2019."

It would seem that the economy itself has created a remedy for eviction: Jobs.

While Republicans have questioned the need for a special session, Jama and Fahey point out that “Extending these protections...can only be done during a special session -- the Emergency Board does not have the authority to extend these protections and keep people housed.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-02 14:11:28Last Update: 2021-12-02 14:34:24



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