Harrisburg rental assistance program helping residents affected by COVID-19

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The City of Harrisburg’s rent relief program is helping hundreds of people stay in their homes. It’s also benefiting landlords.

The city has received more than 600 applications for the program and staff are processing the first 200.

$122,000 dollars has already been sent out in the first round.

Loss of income due to COVID-19 has impacted a lot of people in Harrisburg.

Though there’s an eviction moratorium, it doesn’t apply to everyone and the rent relief program is critical.

“We’re being able to stop the eviction process which is a blessing and a lot of the landlords have worked with us (say) that they are stopping the eviction process,” said Lillie Williams, interim director of the Department of Building and Housing Development.

The average amount given out to residents is between $2,000 and $5,000.

The city is also taking care of utilities, anywhere from $400 to $1,000.

$19,000 has been sent out for that.

Landlords fill out a W-9 and become a vendor of the city.

“Then we cut the check of the back rent directly to the landlord,” Williams said.

“The moratorium can put a lot of pressure especially on small landlords, people that have maybe one, two, five units. If they get a couple of them that aren’t paying, that can have a cascading effect,” said landlord Sean Maurer.

That’s why Maurer says he’s appreciative of the program.

“As you receive this money as a landlord, it gives you a bit more room to work with some of your other tenants to maybe give them a little more time to get their affairs in order too,” Maurer said.

“I don’t believe that we’re going to get to the full 600 residents that applied so I do believe that there will be a second round,” Williams said.

Everyone who applied should here back by January 29.

Williams said if you still need assistance with rent, you can also contact HELP Ministries at 717-238-2851.

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