Multnomah County is setting aside $48,000 to help the families in a Northeast Portland building facing a 100-percent rent increase.
The money is intended to make sure families can stay in their homes through at least the end of the school year, says County Chair Deborah Kafoury.
The Normandy Apartments on Northeast Killingsworth Street is home to 26 students and accounts for more than 5 percent of Rigler Elementary in the Cully neighborhood.
"For these children to have to move halfway through the school year—probably moving a school, or even a school district—is going to have serious ramifications on their education," says Kafoury.
"We just don't have the resources to do this in every single situation, to subsidize landlords that are making these choices," Kafoury continues. "We really need landlords to step up. The community ends up paying the price."
Latino Network, which runs the SUN School program at Rigler, will oversee the rent assistance and has begun reaching out to families, Kafoury says.
Kafoury is also supporting a proposal by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Mayor Ted Wheeler to require landlords to pay moving costs for tenants who face a no-cause eviction or a rent increase of more than 10 percent in a 12-month period. (It applies at least to tenants on month-to-month leases, though there is some disagreement on the issue.) That proposal will go before City Council on Thursday.
Kafoury and Mayor Ted Wheeler issued an open letter to landlords earlier today, asking them to waive late fees for tenants who could document reduced hours at work because of the January snow storms.
They also asked landlords to work with tenants on a payment plan, rather than issue evictions.
"I think it's really important that everyone in our community participates in keeping people in their homes and keeping people housed," says Kafoury.