Regardless of citizenship, all are eligible for rental assistance

Written by on September 17, 2021

Regardless of citizenship, all are eligible for rental assistance

By Hayden Mitman

September 17, 2021

Kathy Possinger, special advisor to the secretary of the Department of Human Services. Photo | Hayden Mitman / WLVR

State officials are encouraging non-English speaking residents, even those who are not U.S. citizens, to apply for emergency rental assistance funding.

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The census bureau recently found more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians are at risk of potentially being evicted within the next two months. 

Pennsylvania has nearly $1 billion in federal money available to help people facing eviction. 

Kathy Possinger, special advisor to the secretary of the Department of Human Services, said the funds,  through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), are available to help those struggling with rent and utility costs…

“Our goal is to share information with every Pennsylvanian who could potentially benefit, including those who do not speak English as their primary or preferred language,” she said.  

The Supreme Court recently ended federal pandemic-related eviction protections. 

Possinger said that the state is working to use these funds to prevent homelessness, no matter an individual’s citizenship status.

“A Social Security number is not required. And even if your rental lease is not formally documented by your landlord, you can still benefit from ERAP,” said Possinger. ““ERAP makes evictions preventable. So, I want to make it clear, ERAP is here to help everybody. Anyone living in Pennsylvania, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, is eligible for ERAP.”

According to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, more than half of renters in the area may struggle to pay rent and utility bills. 

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