Midstate rental assistance: where and how to apply, and tips to get your money quickly


(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Nearly a half-billion dollars in emergency rental assistance money has been allocated to Pennsylvania but not yet paid to Pennsylvanians. If you qualify, how can you get your share?

Let’s start with the “if you qualify” part. It’s not for everybody, but it’s remarkably accessible for a program of its kind, according to Robin Rohrbaugh, president and CEO of York’s Community Progress Council (CPC).

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“The guidelines are: people who have been impacted by COVID,” Rohrbaugh said.

You can get help for rent or utilities, and Rohrbaugh said “the interpretation of utilities is pretty broad, so we can pay trash, sewer, electric, gas.”

Income limits, too, are higher than for common assistance programs: more than $45,000 for a single person or more than $65,000 for a family of four.

Of the $30 million allocated to York County, CPC has paid 4,000 individuals and families a total of about $8 million in assistance for rent and $2.5 million for utilities, or a little more than a third of that total allocation. That’s higher than the most recently available statewide average of more like 15 percent, according to data provided to abc27 News by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (although the statewide number could be higher now, because of lag times in reporting).

What has gone relatively well in York? A robust web-based application, according to Rohrbaugh, and community partner organizations that have provided in-person assistance. Among the busiest of those: The Movement, whose president and founder, Anu Banks, says, “As long as you have your information, I can get you in and out in like 10 minutes.”

He’s been helping as many as 10 people per day, up from about two or three earlier in the program.

If you live in York and want to apply, you can go directly here. That site contains a link of community partners that can help, including The Movement, which you can also call directly at 717-891-3150.

If you live in any other county, click here and select your county, click “next” and then contact the agency or agencies that appear. (Don’t click “submit” under the agency name.)

Rohrbaugh and Banks both offered the same tip: Before you apply, make sure to have your landlord’s correct email address, and make sure to speak with your landlord to ensure they’re watching for a message. They’ll have to do their part for you to receive your money.

Rohrbaugh said especially if you’re applying on your own, make sure to watch the videos on CPC’s site, which can help you avoid common mistakes.

Rohrbaugh said people who complete the application correctly often begin receiving money within weeks. If you’ve been waiting months, something in your application is likely missing. That’s when it’s time to contact CPC or a partner like The Movement if you live in York — or the appropriate agency in your county if you live somewhere else.

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