With just two weeks remaining to apply for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has distributed more than $4 million to renters and homeowners.
For the CARES Rent Relief Program, all 67 participating county organizations provide monthly summaries of activities. In July and August, nearly 27,000 applications were received from renters and 2,822 were approved, with 1,561 landlords assisted.
County data for the CARES RRP are available in the tables provided for July and August. Of the $50 million in CARES aid that has been provided by PHFA to county organizations so far, $4,055,076 has been distributed by them to renters approved for relief.
PHFA is overseeing the processing of all homeowner applications. The Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program has received 2,213 applications, and PHFA is providing a county-by-county breakdown of that data, as well as a county-by-county map. (The total for the counties’ data does not match the official total of 2,213 because some mailed applications are not yet in the database.) The total assistance approved so far is $1.7 million. As of Sept. 15, the agency has disbursed $153,500 in PMAP relief to distressed homeowners. Of the application review decisions made to date, the approval percentage is 52.2%. A 30-day delinquency requirement was recently eliminated from the PMAP guidelines. Prior applicants who did not qualify for assistance are being reviewed again.
“This data show a continuation of the trends we saw in July – mainly that the application process has to be simplified and the deadline for applying should be extended if we want to help more homeowners and renters,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “We’re pleased the legislature has been keenly interested in the progress of both these statewide programs and is considering changes to make them work better. Our goal remains to use as much of the federal CARES dollars as possible to help Pennsylvanians stay in their homes.”
The federal CARES Act, passed in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania. In late May, the General Assembly directed $175 million of these CARES dollars to PHFA to provide assistance for struggling renters and homeowners. The portion for rent assistance is at least $150 million, and $25 million was set aside for mortgage assistance.
Applicants with questions about the CARES Rent Relief Program should reach out to the organization in their county that is processing applications. A county contact list with phone numbers, emails and street addresses is available on the RRP webpage.
Questions from homeowners about PMAP should be directed to PHFA. The agency’s webpage for PMAP is available here. The agency’s call center is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the program. The toll-free number is 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for homeowners. Of course, PHFA is also getting calls from renters and is assisting them, too.
In accordance with the state CARES Act, this funding for renters and homeowners must be completely distributed by Nov. 30.