With eviction a growing threat, Pa. DHS promotes emergency rental assistance

Written by on May 12, 2021

 With eviction a growing threat, Pa. DHS promotes emergency rental assistance

By Hayden Mitman

May 12, 2021

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Pennsylvania recently set aside $847 million to support renters who could face evictions now that a federal judge has shot down a nationwide ban on the practice

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The Justice Department has appealed the judge’s ruling and it is on hold, but the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services says more Pennsylvanians could be taking advantage of this funding. 

A recent study found as many as 240,000 Pennsylvanians owe about $958 million in back rent.

With rent and late fees possibly coming due, the state’s DHS is offering support through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

But so far, Meg Snead, Pennsylvania’s acting DHS secretary, says the program is not being utilized as much as it should.

“I’m extremely concerned that people are not moving quickly to pursue this assistance because the moratorium was expected to be in place through the fall and I’m extremely concerned about what will occur and circumstances people will be in, if the ruling stands,” Snead says.

These funds can help renters afford to pay current, and back, rent and help to make landlords whole, as well. 

It can also be used to help pay utilities.

The department says it has received about 8,000 applications and has delivered an average of $4,000 for each successful applicant.

Those in need of rental assistance can apply now through September or until the funds run out. Information on how to apply is at Compass.State.Pa.US.

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