November 2020
Greetings!

Sending you health and wellness this Holiday Season from Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's Public Policy Team!
House in hands
When we last wrote to you, we were calling for an extension of the statewide Eviction Moratorium that was set to expire on December 31st. Yesterday the legislature convened for a Third Special Session in 2020.

Our team testified in support of HB 4401, to extend the Eviction Moratorium until June 30th, 2021. We are happy to report that this bill was approved by the legislature yesterday! Please see a more in-depth overview of what the legislature approved below.

EMO's fantastic organizing team worked with many of you to send emails, make phone calls, and meet via Zoom with lawmakers over these past few weeks. Thank you for helping make a difference for Oregonians!

Housing stability is interlinked with many issues EMO advocates for, such as food security and addressing youth homelessness. At our food pantry (NE Emergency Food Program) and others across the state, we are hearing stories of Oregonians who are being forced to decide between paying for rent or putting food on the table.

The Public Policy Team will continue to advocate that funds are allocated and distributed to effectively serve Oregon's most vulnerable and those we work with through our direct service programs. We know that immediate funding for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Food Services is needed across the state and will work to fight for Emergency Board support.

Our team would not find success without the engagement of our statewide network of people like you. We thank you for your dedication!

Have a blessed holiday,
Britton Conroy
EMO director of Public Policy Advocacy
A Brief Overview of Monday's Special Session
House Bill 4401: to Extend the Eviction Moratorium
This bill extends the Eviction Moratorium until June 30th, 2021. Tenants must pay back all rent by July 1, 2021. It's important to note that this moratorium is different from past moratoria enacted by the legislature. To qualify, tenants must document that they have experienced hardship that has impacted their ability to pay rent after March 16, 2020, the day Governor Brown's "Stay Home, Save Lives" orders went into place. For a more technical overview, please see this guide to the moratorium, provided by the Oregon Law Center.

The bill allocates $150 million to establish a Landlord Compensation Fund, through which landlords can apply for rent assistance OHCS (Oregon Housing and Community Services). HB 4401 also allocates $50 million for a tenant-initiated, application-based rent assistance program. Apply Here.
Other Items Approved by the Legislature in the Special Session
$400 million for the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency, to be allocated by the Emergency Board.

$100 million to be allocated by the Emergency Board for the state’s wildfire recovery, prevention, and preparedness activities.

If you would like to read the House and Senate bills that were passed yesterday, you can find HB 4401 here and SB 5731 here.
EMO's Climate Advocacy:
Earlier this month, EMO submitted a written comment to the Oregon Transportation Commission, urging more equitable and environmentally sustainable funding for its 2024-2027 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. We grounded our testimony in the lived experiences of our clients, overburdened by pollution and underserved by inadequate public transit; in the belief, rooted in Matthew 6:21, that government budgets reflect a people’s moral priorities; and, finally, in the prophetic heritage of our Christian tradition.

Although the commission did not ultimately choose the funding package that EMO and hundreds of others advocated for, OTC did decide to allocate a record-setting $225 million to the climate-friendly “non-highway” category! Read EMO’s comments here, a summary of the decision here, and subscribe to EMO’s Creation Justice Newsletter here to follow EMO’s creation-centered advocacy
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
503-221-1054 | emo@emoregon.org | emoregon.org