Pennsylvanians are reminded of available support with rent and utility bills, anyone at risk of eviction is welcome to apply today

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Today, Acting Department of Social Services (DHS) Secretary Meg Snead reminded Pennsylvanians of the assistance available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that can help those affected by COVID-19 and threatened with deportation to pay in arrears. and future rent or utility bills or other costs needed to help them be housed safely.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a final one-month extension of the federal moratorium on evictions until July 31, 2021. Pennsylvanians experiencing housing instability or at risk of eviction are strongly encouraged not to wait until the moratorium ends and to start their ERAP application now.

“Having a secure and stable home is essential for good health and general well-being. The CDC’s moratorium on evictions has been critical in helping people stay housed and avoiding a wave of evictions and homelessness as Pennsylvania and the country experience continued economic insecurity, but we must prepare for what could happen when the moratorium ends, ”Acting Secretary Snead said. “I urge all Pennsylvanians who are struggling to pay their rent or utilities, or who are worried about losing their home, don’t wait and apply for an ERAP today. This program is here to help, but don’t wait until you are in a particularly difficult or desperate situation to start your application.

The Wolf administration built the ERAP in partnership with the General Assembly through Law 1 of 2021 and the recently passed State Budget 2021-2022 to make more than $ 1 billion available to Pennsylvania households through partnerships with local leaders. An additional $ 498 million in rent assistance has been allocated directly to the largest counties in Pennsylvania by the federal government, making a total of $ 847 million available to help tenants and landlords feel the pressure of this insecurity. economic across Pennsylvania. ERAP funding comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and other rental assistance funds included in the American Rescue Plan Act have been allocated in the 2021-2022 state budget.

Households may be eligible for assistance for up to 18 months to cover overdue or future rent and / or utility payments. The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not exclude eligibility, but the amount of ERAP assistance provided to a household is determined by the program administrators at the county level. Assistance may be provided to a tenant for future rent payments and for unpaid rent or utility arrears accrued from March 13, 2020 on a residential rental property. Counties may choose to provide additional assistance to eligible households if funds remain available.

Renters or landlords can request this help, but a tenant does not need the landlord’s permission to request and use this help. This program is an opportunity to help calm circumstances for both parties, so landlords and tenants are strongly encouraged to work cooperatively to obtain this stabilizing assistance.

To be eligible for assistance, a household must be required to pay rent on a residential property and meet each of the following criteria:

  • One or more persons within the household were entitled to unemployment benefits, had a decrease in their income, increased household costs or experienced other financial difficulties during or due directly or indirectly to the COVID pandemic -19; AND
  • One or more members of the household may present a risk of homelessness or housing instability; AND
  • The household has an income equal to or less than 80 percent of the region’s median income, which varies by county. Income limits by county are available on the DHS website. Resources (such as bank accounts and cars) are not relevant for ERAP eligibility.

Applicants must provide the following information: the personal information of the head of the family; income information for all household members aged 18 and over; rental lease and amount due; the name and contact details of the owner. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide information on utility spending and the utility provider.

About two-thirds of counties in Pennsylvania have partnered with DHS to make ERAP requests available to their residents online at www.compass.state.pa.us. The remaining counties have chosen to accept applications from county residents through their own application process. Residents of all counties can visit COMPASS for information on how to apply for an ERAP, including residents of counties who have developed their own process. If a person tries to apply through COMPASS but indicates that they reside in one of the 22 counties with their own application, they will receive information on how to apply, including a link to the county application if available.

“For too many Pennsylvanians, this crisis has destabilized the financial situation and further strained the resources of those already living on or near the poverty line, forcing them to choose between meeting basic needs and paying housing or utilities and ensure the safety of their families. Acting Secretary Snead said. “The PIU has the potential to stabilize the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians in vulnerable housing situations and provide respite for the residential rental industry and utility providers. This is our opportunity to invest in our long-term economic recovery and to prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness that will create a new public health crisis that may linger beyond the pandemic. Don’t wait, apply today.

For more information on ERAP, promotional materials, program data, and how to apply, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/erap.

NOTE: Acting Secretary Snead’s video bytes are available for ERAP coverage and can be downloaded here.

CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Erin James – [email protected]

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