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Only 2% of the 17,500 who have applied for assistance have received money so far.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Rental assistance is slow to be delivered.More than 17,500 households have applied for rental assistance in the state of Oregon. But so far, only 265 households — that is, 2% — have received any money as of Friday, July 9.

Andrea Bell, the director of Housing Stabilization for Oregon Housing and Community Services, said another 1,100 people should be getting payments within the next three days. But the state still has thousands of applications left to process.

"The most urgent challenge we face right now is continuing to get emergency resources into the hands of tenants struggling to pay rent," Bell said.

The eviction moratorium expired June 30. But the 2021 Oregon Legislature gave tenants an extra 60 days to pay rent and avoid eviction if they can provide documentation to their landlord they've applied for rental assistance.

Renters in Multnomah County have through Sept. 25, if they've applied for help.

But the clock is ticking to get rental assistance to those who have applied. Asked if she thinks they'll be able to do that before the rental protections expire, Bell was not clear.

"Our local administrators are meeting the urgency of this need absolutely. We do not call that into question," she said. "But what we know, what we're finding here in Oregon that is not so unique, is the need for additional capacity to really get through these applications."

Bell did say they are continuing to hire people to help speed up the process. It's also not too late to apply for rental assistance if you need help, she said.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.

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