Jackson County, OR — Additional pandemic relief funds have been made available to qualifying Oregonians who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and can be accessed through the nonprofit Options for Helping Residents of Ashland.
"If somebody has had income loss due to COVID - they're not able to pay their rent, they'll come in here and we'll go through the paperwork with them, to get proof of that," said OHRA Executive Director Cass Sinclair, "They just need to come in and we'll walk alongside them to see if they qualify."
OHRA is distributing $400,000 in state funds to qualifying individuals and the only residency requirement is that applicants live in the state of Oregon. The funds will be available until June 30, and can be used to pay rent, late fees, utility payments, hotel or motel vouchers, moving costs, and back rent dating to Apr. 1, 2020.
To qualify an individual must have lost their home or be at risk of losing their home due to the impacts of COVID-19. Households that are homeless, at imminent risk of homelessness, those who are unstably housed, or those fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence may also apply.
"In a way, it's first come first serve, because we have a certain amount of dollars to pass through," Sinclair said. "The worst thing that could happen to us is that we didn't facilitate all the dollars for those in need."
The money is available through the state-run STARR (Supporting Tenants Accessing Rental Relief) program, which was created to help lessen the economic impacts of the pandemic. The financial requirement for applicants is that the gross income of all adult household members is either at or below 80% of area median income.
"People are so grateful. Especially how hard our community was hit and out of work during this time. It's just wonderful to be able to help people," Sinclair said.
Individuals who believe that may be eligible are encouraged to contact OHRA at 541-631-2235 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays.