In the ongoing wake of COVID, Oregon Synod leaders, along with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, have convened a statewide conversation among 65 faith leaders — evangelicals, Catholics, and mainline — from across the state (particularly Coast, Southern Oregon, Central Oregon, Mid-Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon). We have shared our stories, asking: What are the pressures your communities are experiencing in this lasting wake of COVID and what could be done to protect the most vulnerable? We heard a resounding response: HOUSING. Those who are unemployed and rent are on the edge; those who are already houseless are even more vulnerable.
Working with partners like the Oregon Food Bank and others, we have organized phone calls, emails and in person meetings with our state legislatures to make TWO asks around the upcoming budget legislative session that begins next Wednesday, June 24th:
Extend the moratorium on evictions until October 1, and provide a period of six months after the moratorium ends (a) for tenants and homeowners to pay back rent and (b) during which time tenants may not be evicted for failure to pay their back rent.
Support expanded funding to basic homeless services, especially for unaccompanied houseless youth (UHY) by bringing back and passing HB 4039.
Join your faith-filled voices and call your legislators into God’s pandemic Love! You can either look up and call your legislators, or submit an email through the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon site. It will literally take you less than 5 minutes to make sure people stay housed and have the services they need during this time. Perhaps it will make sure you stay housed.
Most important: be sure to tell your story. Here are three easy steps to help you do that:
Start by introducing yourself, including your congregation, where it is located.
Share 2-4 sentences about your own story—the housing pressures on your community, particularly in the midst of the pandemic. Create urgency—why the NOW of this moment.
Share in 2 sentences the impact the moratorium on evictions and the expanded funding to basic homeless services would have. What difference will this make for your community?