(5/10) Pennsylvania counties have launched the Emergency Rental Assistance Program approved by the passage of the second federal stimulus bill in late December.
The purpose of ERAP is to provide assistance to renters, landlords and utility providers who have been affected by the pandemic and economic insecurity. Under the program guidelines, eligible households may apply for assistance, with funding paid directly to the landlord or utility provider. If a landlord or utility provider chooses not to participate, payments may be made directly to the tenant. An “eligible household” is defined using the following criteria:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
- Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median as calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The PA Department of Human Services is administering the ERAP for those counties with a population of less than 200,000, while counties and cities with a population of 200,000 or more are administering their own programs with direct funding from the U.S. Treasury.