The first application window for the new Housing Assistance Program closed within minutes after opening at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Oct. 27.
According to city officials, around 1,600 applications were received within the first five minutes. That's 200 more than the 1,400 prepaid debit cards available for this first application round of the program.
The program is set to distribute 2,800 prepaid debit cards worth $500 each. The next window to apply for the remaining 1,400 available cards will open on Friday, Oct. 30, beginning at 1 p.m.
The new program is for Portlanders affected by the coronavirus pandemic, who can apply for money to help pay for items like food, medicine, rent and transportation. Mayor Ted Wheeler, the city of Portland and the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette announced the program's launch during a press conference last Friday, Oct. 23.
Eligible applicants must be over the age of 18, live in Portland and have experienced "a loss of income or elevated health risk related to COVID-19 and have a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income," according to the Portland Housing Bureau.
Prepaid cards will also be provided to those experiencing homelessness or living in shelters, made available through the Joint Office of Homeless Services.
Overall, the Household Assistance Program is expected to help 27,000 Portland households between now and the end of the year. For more information about the program and details on how to apply, visit pdxassist.com.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
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