Friday, December 10, 2021

Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Reallocation Requests. OHCS +City of Portland=$236 Million; Multnomah County=?

I have had most of my questions about ERA 1 reallocation requests cleared up, with a possible request from Multnomah County the largest remaining question mark. 

All reallocation requests to Treasury had to include projections of future needs for ERA 1 and ERA 2 assistance and counts of unique assisted households from November 2021 to February 2022. 

These projections may be relevant to the planned Oregon special legislative session next week. 

To date, OHCS and the City of Portland have requested $236 million in reallocated ERA 1 funds and they projected that $223 million in ERA 1 and 2 funds were needed to provide assistance to 38,483 unique households from November 2021 to February 2022. These totals do not include any Multnomah County reallocation request (see text below for Multnomah County discussion). 

NOTE: Regardless of the requested reallocation amounts there is no guarantee and perhaps a HIGH likelihood that reallocations from Treasury will NOT occur. 

An Oregon table I constructed with data on projected needs and requested reallocations is pasted below. Once I get clarification from Multnomah County I will edit/update the table and text below. 

My observations on Oregon reallocation requests to date:

OHCS Reallocation Request: $188,922,472

OHCS's request is HERE

Their request to Treasury for ERA funds was for $189 million. 

Their projected need for assistance from November through February 2022 was for $200 million in ERA 1 and 2 funds, serving a total of 33,163 unique households. Note that OHCS provides assistance throughout the state so some of these households would be in the City of Portland and Multnomah county. 

Their November 4th obligation certificate indicated that $174,899,553 had been obligated,  86% of their  $204,366,635 ERA-1 grant.

OHCS total allocations for ERA 1 and ERA 2 are $267 million; with $62,583,816 in their ERA 2 grant. 

After reviewing the OHCS request I had two remaining questions about the relationship between the ask and the remaining resources

Q2. Some of the monthly projected households in need who will be served will be served with your current resources. How many ADDITIONAL households are projected to be served with the ADDITIONAL $188 M requested?

Q2—We have requested an additional $189M but we do not know if we will receive this. The amount we receive may be substantially less. However, if we do receive this amount, we anticipate approximately 26 thousand more households could be served if the full amount is received. This based on current payment per household trends. This could shift based on folks needing more or less assistance. To reiterate, we are not counting on receiving this money.

Q3. Is OHCS projecting that spending will be around $50M per month and that ERA 1 and 2 spending for rental assistance will run out in March but could be extended through June with the reallocation request of $188 M? If not , what are your monthly projections?

Q3—OHCS anticipates that ERA 1 and ERA 2 will conclude by the end of March 2022, in line with your projections. If more funds are received, OHCS will work to pay out applications as quickly as possible as they are completed in the portal. If the applications are in the system, OHCS has been paying out between 10 to 12 million per week and our goal would be maintain this rate or increase it as necessary.

City of Portland: Requested Reallocated Funds=$47,710,019, Based on 100% Obligation of Their ERA-1 Funds. 

The dashboard for the City of Portland currently shows about $6 million remaining in ERA 1 funding from both Multnomah County and City of Portland ERA 1 direct allocations. Treasury reports show the October City of Portland rent assistance to households expenditure ratio at 30% and the County at 85%, for a combined ratio of 41%. 

Even though the City of Portland October rent assistance to households expenditure ratio was low they requested $47,710,019 in reallocated funds based on a NOVEMBER 15th obligation level of $19,647,973.30. That's 100% of their ERA-1 grant. 

Their projected assistance need from November 2021 through February 2022 was for $22,868,748 in ERA 1 and 2 funds, serving a total of 5,320 unique households.

[Kudos to City of Portland staff for timeliness in responding to my public record request for their reallocation request; I had the document in just a couple of days from my request]. 

Multnomah County Has Said Publicly That They Have Requested Reallocated ERA 1 Funds....But Despite Repeated Attempts, I Haven't Been Able to Get Clarification or Data on the Amount Requested or Projected Needs. 

According to a presentation made before the County Commission of December 2nd Multnomah County  "and our partners in the City" made a request for reallocated ERA 1 funds (the application deadline was November 30). 

I didn't see/hear any specifics of the amount requested or their projections for ERA 1 and ERA 2 needs. 

The County PR following the meeting also did not mention the request for reallocated funds.

It is possible that the request referenced in the Commission meeting was the City of Portland request, signed only by Mayor Wheeler

Despite multiple attempts since early November I have been unsuccessful in getting copies of Multnomah county ERA 1 reports and requests sent to Treasury. I will continue to follow up and appeal if necessary. 

Other Local Grantees: 

ERA 1: Among the "Four PIPS" Marion County May Be a Candidate to Give Up Funds for Reallocation. 

Four other ERA-1 local grantees were required to submit performance improvement plans and thus would likely would NOT be eligible to request reallocated funds by the November 30th deadline. [My prior post HERE has copies of those four plans]. 

At 4.09% Marion county had the 6th lowest local government rent assistance to households expenditure ratio in the country as of October 31st . It is possible that Treasury could reallocate their funds to another grantee inside or outside of Oregon. 

New Treasury Template Letter for Voluntary ERA 1 Reallocation

Treasury has posted a new voluntary reallocation letter format HERE should Marion or any other jurisdiction wish to transfer their ERA 1 balance to another grantee that has achieved the 65% obligation threshold

ERA 2: All of the current local ERA 1 grantees have ERA 2 grants that subtotal to $82.6 million

Jackson county did not have a ERA 1 direct allocation, but does have a $5.2 million ERA 2 direct allocation. Adding this in and total ERA 2 grants in Oregon are $87.8 million. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

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