Pennsylvanians encouraged to apply for emergency rental assistance

Pennsylvania

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvanians can receive assistance from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which was designed to help people who have been affected by COVID-19 and are facing eviction be able to pay past due and upcoming rent or utility bills or other costs necessary to help them be safely housed.

The final, one-month extension of the federal moratorium on evictions ends on July 31, according to the CDC. However, the Department of Human Resources is encouraging Pennsylvanians not to wait until the moratorium ends and to begin their assistance application as soon as possible.

To qualify for assistance, a household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property as well as:

  • One or more people within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic; AND
  • One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
  • The household has an income at or below 80 percent of area median income, which varies by county

“Having a safe, stable place to call home is foundational to good health and overall well-being. The CDC’s eviction moratorium has been critical in helping people stay housed and avoid a wave of evictions and homelessness as Pennsylvania and the nation experience continued economic insecurity, but we must prepare for what may come when the moratorium ends,” Acting Secretary Meg Snead, said.

Households may be eligible for up to 18 months of assistance to cover past0due or future rental and/or utility bills. The amount provided is determined by program administers at the county level. According to the release, assistance is provided to a tenant for future or unpaid rent and utility arrears that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020.

Both tenants and landlords can apply for this assistance, but a tenant does not need a landlord’s permission to apply.

“ERAP has the potential to stabilize the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians in vulnerable housing situations and provide a reprieve to the residential rental industry and utility providers. This is our opportunity to invest in our long-term economic recovery and prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness that will create yet another public health crisis that could persist beyond the pandemic. Please do not wait – apply today,” Snead said.

For more information and to apply, visit the ERAP website by clicking here.

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