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Cash Assistance Depleted after 17 Minutes

Help for households suffering lost income

4/27/2020, 3:35 p.m.
The Portland Housing Bureau has reallocated $1 million from its budget into a COVID-19 Emergency Household Stabilization Fund for households ...
The city of Portland opened an emergency cash assistance program on Monday to help households suffering a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund ran out of money in 17 minutes after 1,000 calls. (AP archive photo)

Applications for $250 in cash assistance from the city of Portland to help low-income families hurting from the coronavirus pandemic closed after 17 minutes Monday, when the the supply ran out. More than 1,000 applications were received by households contacting 2-1-1 or visiting the website 211ino.org/covid19, officials said. The volume depleted the $200,000 reserved for households and individuals applying on a first come, first served basis.

The Portland Housing Bureau last week made $1 million available from its budget for a COVID-19 Emergency Household Stabilization Fund for people suffering lost incomes during the public health crisis, but $800,000 of the total amount is being distributed via internal referrals through a network of social service providers serving culturally specific communities.

211 staff will also be able to connect applicants to additional community resources and assistance, such as discounts for sewer and water charges, crisis vouchers, and the Utility Safety Net program offered by the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau.