Pennsylvanians who have lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic and are struggling to pay rents and mortgages can apply for $175 million in federal funds to stay in their homes. The state made applications available Monday.
The statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures because of nonpayment is scheduled to end July 10. Philadelphia City Council extended the eviction moratorium until Aug. 31 for residential renters and small businesses. The Federal Housing Administration has also extended its foreclosure moratorium through Aug. 31 for homeowners with federally backed mortgages.
Starting next Monday, July 6, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency will accept completed mortgage relief applications at phfa.org, and county organizations will accept rent relief applications. Both programs are first-come, first-served, and applications close Sept. 30. Officials expect more people to apply than funds will cover.
Through the state program, Philadelphia will receive $28.45 million in federal funds, which city officials estimate will help about 6,300 renters. Those who applied for the city’s program and did not receive help must apply separately to the state program, which has different requirements. For example, tenants with higher incomes are eligible for funds through the state. The Philadelphia Housing Development Corp.(PHDC) will accept applications at phlrentassist.org, by fax, and by mail. On Monday, PHDC will post information on how to apply by fax or mail.
Officials said they will process applications and distribute funds as soon as possible starting July 6, but they didn’t know when the first payments would go out. The state must get the funds to residents by Nov. 30.
At least $150 million will go to renters and $25 million to homeowners, according to legislation lawmakers passed last month.
“Many people, through no fault of their own, are finding themselves and their families in jeopardy of losing their housing,” Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said in a statement. “In addition to the immeasurable stress this instability places on people at a time when so much is uncertain, we cannot rebuild a strong economy while people are in danger of being homeless.”
Eligible renters can receive up to $750 per month for a maximum of six months for rent due between March 1 and Nov. 30. Eligible homeowners can receive up to $1,000 per month for a maximum of six months for payments owed in March through December. Landlords, who also must fill out an application, and mortgage lenders will receive the funds directly.
To qualify, applicants must have become unemployed after March 1 or must have had at least a 30% drop in their annual income because of the pandemic. Their income cannot exceed the area median income of their county, which is $96,600 for a family of four in Philadelphia and its collar counties.
Applicants for mortgage relief must live in their home, the mortgage must be at least 30 days past due, and the home must consist of one or two dwelling units.
Those with questions about the rental or mortgage assistance programs can call the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency during the week at 1-855-U-Are-Home (1-855-827-3466).
In the collar counties, the following organizations will distribute rental assistance through the state: Bucks County Opportunity Council (bcoc.org), Housing Authority of the County of Chester (haccnet.org), Delaware County Department of Human Services (delcohsa.org), and Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (montcopa.org/2783/Health-and-Human-Services).