Home Forward, the public housing authority for Multnomah County, has issued a moratorium on all evictions for its tenants who cannot pay rent because of the coronavirus' financial impacts.
"The moratorium will prevent households from being evicted or from having to pay fees for late or non-payment of rent, due to loss of income related to COVID-19," reads a Tuesday morning press release from Home Forward. It will last until May 31, "with future extensions possible."
According to the announcement, those living in Home Forward's 6,980 units of public housing will only be exempt from payments if they can prove that they've been financially burdened by COVID-19's spread. "For example," the press release reads, "their place of work closed or they are at home without sick pay."
The moratorium does not erase rent payments, but delays them for later repayment. Tenants who are granted this emergency rent relief will be required to start repaying missed rent on June 1, 2020, unless the agency extends its moratorium.
The moratorium also does not apply to the approximately 9,390 tenants who pay rent to a private landlord with a housing choice voucher through Home Forward (also known as Section 8 rent assistance).
"We are appealing private market landlords to follow suit," says Monica Fourcher, spokesperson for Home Forward. "But we can't force them to."
The announcement comes a day after Multnomah County Circuit Court announced all eviction hearings would be delayed until at least March 30, and hours before a scheduled 9 am Tuesday press conference, where Portland and Multnomah County officials expect to make an announcement on more widespread housing protections related to COVID-19's economic impacts.