Cost of living relief for Oregonians from the COVID-19 crisis

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We the undersigned write to the Governor and our Legislators to advocate for essential assistance in the the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to shelter-in-place has caused an unprecedented loss of employment for thousands of Oregonians, resulting in dire economic uncertainty for themselves and all our fellow citizens. Swift and decisive action is required to distribute the costs of this period to institutions that can afford to bear them, rather than letting them fall disproportionately upon the least advantaged.

We commend the Governor's Executive Orders prohibiting evictions for nonpayment of rent during the crisis. These measures were essential and helpful, but they do not yet go far enough to ensure continued housing stability for Oregonians. They do not address the risk of foreclosure, either for homeowners or for renters whose landlords depend upon their rent for mortgage payments. They do not address the costs of other basic needs, like water and power, which still need to be paid. And they do not provide any certainty as to what happens when the 90-day moratorium on evictions finally ends.

Therefore, we call upon the Governor and the Legislature of Oregon to promptly enact measures for the following:

1) Forgivenness of all rent, residential or commercial, due during the shelter-in-place order, and for a month after it ends, to enable citizens to transition back to employment.

2) Deferral of any mortgage payments owed during the shelter-in-place order, and a prohibition on foreclosures during that period.

3) Financial assistance for any Oregonians who have lost work for payment of essential utilities, including water, power, and internet access; or for the provision of those services for no or substantially reduced cost to anyone experiencing unemployment.