Portland to offer financial help for residents hurt by pandemic

By Meerah Powell (OPB)
Oct. 24, 2020 9:41 p.m.

The city will start accepting applications for $500 debit cards on Tuesday.

The city of Portland Friday announced the launch of a new coronavirus assistance program. Starting Tuesday, eligible Portlanders will be able to apply for $500 in household assistance to help with costs for food, medicine, rent and utilities.

“The City of Portland’s emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis prioritizes housing stability, food security and support for the most vulnerable in our community,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement. “This household assistance program will help ease the daily struggle of those who are most deeply impacted by the pandemic’s severe economic impact.”


The city partnered with the United Way of Columbia-Willamette to distribute 2,800 prepaid debit cards. The cards will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis and in two application windows, the city said in a news release.

The application window for the first 1,400 cards opens on Oct. 27 beginning at 9 a.m., and the remaining 1,400 cards will be distributed on Oct. 30 beginning at 1 p.m. All applications must be submitted online through the PDX Assist website.

To be eligible, people must be at least 18 years old and Portland residents. They must have experienced a loss of income or elevated health risk related to COVID-19 and have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income. For a household of two people, that amount is $58,960.

The program is part of a $36 million investment in coronavirus-related housing relief measures by the city and Portland Housing Bureau.


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