Rent assistance program opens

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Pennsylvanians facing eviction or loss of utility service are eligible to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, through which the state will distribute $847 million among the counties.

Renters and rental property owners can apply. Owners apply on behalf of tenants.

To qualify for assistance, a household must have at least one person who qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic; have at least one person at risk of homelessness or household instability; be responsible for paying rent on residential property; and have a household income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.

Assistance would be provided for up to 12 months to cover rent and/or utility payments.

“The pandemic and statewide shutdown have taken a toll on working families throughout Pennsylvania,” Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester/Mongomery) said. “This program will provide a lifeline that is based on need, not income, and will enable people to remain in their homes and able to pay their utilities. However, residents are urged to apply as soon as possible as funds will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are depleted.”