Clackamas County prioritizes helping people over bureaucracy

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BCC signs contract allowing residents to access Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program 

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners will approve a contract with the State of Oregon to access the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program application portal.

The funds available from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program will ensure residents who are at or below specific income thresholds will remain housed when the COVID-19 eviction moratorium ends.

Negotiations with the state to join the program stalled when the state became immovable on liability issues and sharing risk.

In order for Clackamas County residents to apply for state emergency rental assistance funds, the State of Oregon requires Clackamas County to accept full risk in the case of data breaches with the application portal managed by a third party contractor - a contractor that the county had no choice in selecting.

“With new federal, regional and state money flowing this year, it has become an unacceptable pattern that risk gets passed along from the bigger entities to the smaller. No consideration is given to the risks that counties must accept for failures that might happen in the process that are beyond our control,” said Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith. “Failures by third-parties could produce unexpected costs to local governments and in-turn county taxpayers, which seems especially unfair when we didn’t have any role in selecting the contractors.”

The Board of Commissioners calls on legislators and the Governor to work to resolve this issue in the future so that counties can quickly and fairly get dollars where they need to go and understand that risk is a shared cost of doing business.

Many residents are behind on rent, and have been hard hit by the pandemic and ensuing economic disruptions. Clackamas County residents all need a safe place to call home and our county staff and partners are well prepared to deliver this much needed assistance.

Clackamas County residents have two options to apply for emergency rent assistance.

They can apply directly with the county or they can apply for assistance from the state. Residents are encouraged to apply to only one program.

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