LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have struggled to pay the bills.

Across the country nearly 20% of renters are behind on their payments.

Now more help is on the way.

Lancaster County has received $16.23 million from the federal government for emergency rental relief funding.

The Emergency Rental Assistance program was instituted through a federal stimulus bill signed in December. 

Redevelopment authorities are tasked with getting the money to families behind on housing costs.

“This is a game-changer as far as being able to help those who have been affected the most,” Justin Eby, deputy executive director of the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority, said.

Back in July, the states established a rental relief program, but it was criticized because of the amount each renter could use and critics said those who needed the money were not getting it.

Eby said this funding figures to offer more flexibility.

“With the new program we have an unlimited cap to pay rent and utilities,” he said. “So in Lancaster County that will include anything written in the lease as far as pet fees, late fees, rent, utilities.”

Cumberland, Dauphin, and York Counties also received money through the program.

Details on how to apply for rental assistance should be available in the coming weeks.