City of Medford looks to pass federal money for emergency rent payments

MEDFORD, Ore.– Governor Kate Brown’s eviction moratorium is set to end this month.  Since April, tenants haven’t been evicted for not paying rent but by July that could change.

The City of Medford is looking to expedite the process to make sure preparations are made for the July 6 date when evictions will begin to set in. This week, the council is set to make a big decision for renters.

In an effort to help prevent mass evictions, the city is proposing to allocate hundreds of thousands of federal dollars in emergency rent support.

“Residents who earn up to 80 percent of the area median income would qualify,” said Angela Durant, principal planner with the City of Medford’s housing advisory commission. “They can receive up to three month’s rent, consecutive rent payments.”

With Congress passing the CARES Act, cities across the country have been able to receive federal dollars. Medford is receiving a little over $432,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The money will go towards paying landlords for the next three months but it won’t cover unpaid back-rent.

“The federal funds can take a while to distribute to the community and the city council has directed an expeditious distribution of these funds to the community,” said Durant.

The city estimates it could help roughly 100 people pay rent. It will help another 100 cover legal services to prevent eviction.

“I feel like the need far outweighs the resources that are available to our community,” said Durant. “But what I can say is that community partners have been working closely together to identify the gaps in the funding and then to allocate funds that are available to various agencies in a strategic way.”

The city is looking at funding for areas like small businesses too but the struggle is finding enough to go around. The Medford City Council will decide Thursday evening on how to distribute the funds.

St. Vincent de Paul will be the main distributor with Community Works also helping to distribute funds to people fleeing domestic violence.

The City of Medford says any tenants looking to apply are asked to reach out to the St. Vincent de Paul for more information.

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