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Counties roll out emergency rent and utility assistance programs

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Chesco to offer webinar on Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program

Delaware County
Brandywine Battlefield property purchased

Montgomery County
Lower Merion extends business privilege/mercantile tax deadline

Philadelphia County
Philadelphia rental and utility assistance program open for tenants and landlords

 

Emergency Rental Relief Programs in Suburban Philadelphia

Pennsylvania counties have tens of millions of dollars to help renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19. 

These Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds can be used to pay for rent, past-due balances (arrears), utility costs and certain other expenses for up to 15 months.

Tenants can apply, or landlords can apply on behalf of current tenants.

The ERAP program does not have a maximum payment, and it allows for funding of past-due amounts. This is an improvement over the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency program from fall 2020, which capped rental assistance at $750 a month and required that landlords forgive the difference.  


Select a county to view program details:

Bucks County Chester County Delaware County Montgomery County

 



General Information:
 

Where is the money coming from, and how much is available?

Counties are receiving rental relief funding from two programs: 

  U.S. Treasury PA Treasury
Bucks $18.7 million $22.6 million
Chester $15.6 million $18.9 million
Delaware $16.9 million $20.4 million
Montgomery $24.7 million $29.9 million
 

How much rental/utility assistance can tenants receive?

There is no limit on the amount of assistance that each applicant can receive. 

Assistance can be provided for a tenant for up to 12 months (plus an additional three months, if necessary, to ensure housing stability for the household, subject to the availability of funds) that has been accrued on or after March 13, 2020. (Source: PA DHS)

What expenses do the rent and utility relief programs cover?

  • Rent and rental arrears
    • Rent expenses can include rental costs for trailers and trailer lots, and may include long-term housing hotels, motels and boarding homes.
  • Utility or home energy costs — and utility or home energy cost arrears
    • Utilities include separately stated electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash removal and energy costs, such as fuel oil.
  • Other expenses related to housing
    • Other expenses related to housing include but are not limited to relocation expenses, rental fees, internet services for work, home schooling, telemedicine, etc. 

Note: These items may differ slightly from county to county. For example, some counties may pay reasonable late fees; others may not.
(Source: PA DHS)

Who is eligible?

A household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property, and:

  • One or more people within the household have qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID19 pandemic;
  • 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% of Area Median Income (AMI). (See "Income thresholds" in county sections below.)

Residents who own their homes are not eligible.
(Source: PA DHS)

How are payments issued?

ERAP assistance is paid directly to the landlord or utility provider.  

If a landlord or utility provider does not want to participate in ERAP, a direct payment may be made to the tenant.  A payment received by a tenant must be forwarded to the landlord or utility provider to reduce the tenant's obligation. (Source: PA DHS)

Is there a deadline?

All funds must be spent by the end of 2021. The state Department of Human Services expects the ERAP program to run until at least September 2021.​

Links for more information

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services ERAP website has a very informative Frequently Asked Questions page.

The U.S. Treasury website has ERAP details.

The PA Treasury issued a press release on March 9 about the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Grant Program.
 


 

Bucks County

Bucks Emergency Rent Program (BERA)

Website   buckscounty.org/RentHelp
Administering Agency Bucks County and Bucks County Housing Link Partners
Hotline/phone 888-50-BUCKS (Mon - Sat, 10am - 6pm)
Who can apply? Landlords or tenants can apply.  Applications cannot be completed without tenant participation.
 
  Eligibility Criteria for Tenant:
  1. Must be a Bucks County resident, with proof of residency, and residing in the property that is in arrears as primary residence and;
  2. One or more adults in the household must have qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly to the coronavirus outbreak and;
  3. One or more adults in the household must be able to demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability such as a past due rent or utility notice, pay rent or quit notice, court issued eviction notice, fleeing domestic violence, or documented inability to pay prospective rent and;
  4. Provide a current signed lease or rental agreement or other proof of residency and;
  5. Household income must fall at or below income thresholds below;
  6. Must read and agree to full Terms & Conditions that are outlined prior to submission of the application.
   Eligibility Criteria for Landlord:
  1. Must provide a valid W-9 for payment to the owner of the rental property.
  2. Must confirm that any rental arrears submitted for consideration are for Bucks County, Pennsylvania property(ies) only.
  3. Must read and agree to full Terms & Conditions that are outlined prior to submission of the application.
Max payment
There is no cap on payment amounts. 
Back rent
The program may cover rental arrears accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Income thresholds Tenants cannot make more than 80% of the Area Median Income.

1-person household: $54,150 

2-person household: $61,850

3-person household: $69,600 

4-person household: $77,300 

5-person household: $83,500 

6-person household: $89,700 

7-person household: $95,900 

8-person household: $102,050

More information Read the county press release: Bucks County Launches New Rental Assistance Program (3/17/2021)
 


 

Chester County

Emergency Utility and Rent Assistance Program

Website   chesco.org/4905/Rent-Assistance (No online registration)
Administering Agency United Way of Chester County operates 2-1-1
Hotline/phone 2-1-1
Who can apply? Funding will serve individuals and families that are obligated to pay rent and meet the following three criteria:
  • Qualify for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median
Max payment
There is no cap on payment amounts. 
Back rent
The program may cover rental arrears accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Income thresholds Tenants cannot make more than 80% of the Area Median Income.

1-person household: $54,150 

2-person household: $61,850

3-person household: $69,600 

4-person household: $77,300 

5-person household: $83,500 

6-person household: $89,700 

7-person household: $95,900 

8-person household: $102,050

More information There is no online application. The Emergency Utility and Rental Assistance Program can only be accessed by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting the prompt for "Housing Crisis." 

This checklist can assist applicants in gathering the necessary information and documents to complete the application.

Visit the county's Community Development for further updates.
 


 

Delaware County

Emergency Rental Assistance (Delco-ERA)

Website   delco-era.com
Administering Agency Capital Access, Inc.
Hotline/phone 484-729-4200
Who can apply? Qualifications:

1. Household income must be no more than 80% of area median income. Priority will be given to households at or below 50% AMI.

2. The applicant must provide evidence of disruption and/or loss due to COVID-19 pandemic such as:

  • Qualified for unemployment benefits during the pandemic or can attest in writing that they or a member of their household has experienced a reduction of income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the pandemic; and
  • Can demonstrate a risk of housing instability and/or homelessness such as a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice.
Max payment
There is no cap on payment amounts. 
Back rent
The program may cover rental arrears accrued on or after April 1, 2020.
Income thresholds Tenants cannot make more than 80% of the Area Median Income:

1-person household: $54,150 

2-person household: $61,850

3-person household: $69,600 

4-person household: $77,300 

5-person household: $83,500 

6-person household: $89,700 

7-person household: $95,900 

8-person household: $102,050

Note: Priority will be given to those making 50% of Area Median Income and/or facing eviction.

More information Read the county press release: Delaware County Announces Emergency Rental Assistance Program (3/26/2021)
 


  

Montgomery County

Rent and Utility Relief Program 

Website   yourwayhome.org/eruc
Administering Agency Your Way Home and its six Emergency Rent and Utility Coalition (ERUC) partner organizations (ACLAMO, Family Services of Montgomery County, Manna on Main Street, YWCA Tri-County, CADCOM, Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities)
Hotline/phone Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211.
Who can apply? For a household to be eligible for the ERUC program, it must meet the requirements below:

•  Household must reside in Montgomery County at the time of application, AND

•  One or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic, AND

•  The household can demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability, AND

•  Household must be at or below 80% of Area Median Income at the time of application.

○ Income eligibility will be based on average gross income over the 30 days preceding the time of assistance.

○ Income includes earned income, child support, welfare benefits, SSI, SSDI, unemployment income, workman’s comp, pension/investments/401K.

Max payment
There is no cap on payment amounts. 
Back rent
The program may cover rental arrears accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Income thresholds Tenants cannot make more than 80% of the Area Median Income.

1-person household: $54,150 

2-person household: $61,850

3-person household: $69,600 

4-person household: $77,300 

5-person household: $83,500 

6-person household: $89,700 

7-person household: $95,900 

8-person household: $102,050

More information Households seeking assistance will be prioritized in the following order:
  1. Household Income does not exceed 50% Area Median Income (AMI) OR the Household has at least one individual who has been unemployed for 90 days prior to application. In addition, the Household must reside in a zip code of 19401, 19405, 19406, 19464, 19446, or 19027.
  2. Household Income does not exceed 50% AMI OR the Household has at least one individual who has been unemployed for 90 days prior to application. In addition, the Household resides in any zip code in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, that is not listed above.
  3. All other Households that meet program eligibility requirements.

Read the county press release: Montgomery County Announces COVID-19 Rent and Utility Relief Program (3/18/2021)

 

 

Questions? Corrections?  Email sra@suburbanrealtorsalliance.com.

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