The legislature is set to open for an emergency session on Monday, December 21st. On the shortest day of the year, our state must prioritize community members on the brink of losing their homes. The legislature has the opportunity to extend the eviction moratorium through the end of the school year. They will also vote on whether or not to give landlords access to $100 million in state funding to pay off back rent that they are owed. This means that landlords could apply for state funding so that renters do not have to pay rent they owe after months of financial strain due to the pandemic. Additionally, landlords with the fewest number of units, and the highest proportion of unpaid rent would be first in line to access this funding. Lastly, landlords would agree to forgive 20% of the rent they are owed in return for receiving 80% of that money from the state.
Access to stable, affordable, and safe housing was a major challenge for many Oregonians even before the economic recession brought on by COVID-19, and the catastrophic wildfires that displaced so many people. After months of this pandemic, and with federal support systems running out, one in every five Oregonians is at risk of eviction. Without this ban on evictions, families and individuals across the state may find themselves homeless just as winter temperatures drop, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 during a huge spike in cases across much of the state, in addition to the many other health and safety risks associated with being displaced.
Take action today! Call up your legislators and tell them to extend the eviction moratorium! You can find out who represents you and what their phone number is here. And while you’ve got them on the phone, check out the Roadmap to a Thriving Rural Oregon for more ideas of what to encourage them to prioritize on Monday, and in the 2021 legislative session.
What should you say? Here’s a sample script you can follow:
Hi ____! My name is ______ and I’m calling from _______. I’m calling to ask you to please extend the eviction moratorium to July 1, 2021 to get families through the school year. It is vitally important that we don’t make the crisis worse by kicking people out of their homes. Please provide protection to both renters and landlords against financial losses from back rent:
- Give people more time to pay back rent.
- Provide protections for renters who have been unable to pay full rent.
- Create a $100 million landlord compensation fund in the event renters aren’t able to pay all or part of their rent.
Is your group taking action locally around housing in your community? Email us at email@example.com to let us know what you are working on! Based on conversations with groups across the network, we will be highlighting housing projects and programs in the coming months and would love to share what you are up to.