Oregon governor to call special session to approve renter protections

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Tuesday called for a special session for the state legislature to approve state funding for rental assistance and extend eviction protections issued due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press reported

Brown has proposed that protections should be extended for those who applied for rental assistance; landlords should be paid in full for the rent that is due; up to $90 million in additional rental assistance should be awarded to low-income tenants through the winter and an additional $100 million should be allotted for the transition from pandemic-related emergency rental assistance to long-term services.

Brown also said she working with federal officials at the White House and Department of Treasury to secure more federal emergency rental assistance funding for the state, according to the AP.

"It is clear that a state solution is needed to address the urgent and immediate needs of Oregon renters," Brown said.

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) Executive Director Margaret Salazar told the news wire that the state doesn't have enough resources to respond to the immediate crisis.

According to Brown's office, OHCS has received up to $289 million in federal assistance to help renters impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with 22,000 state households receiving $150 million in benefits.

This comes as other states including Texas, California, and New York have struggled with disturbing allocated funds to those in need of rental assistance, the AP reported.

In a joint statement, State Senate Majority leader Rob Wagner (D) and House Majority leader Barbara Smith (D) said the state will be committed to protecting families from the risk of eviction.

"We can take action in a special session to ensure this doesn't happen and that we keep our promise to Oregonians. No one should lose their housing because of administrative delays," their statement said.

The special session will be held on Dec. 13, the AP noted.