Renters who were financially impacted by the economic slowdown related to the coronavirus pandemic are able to access applications for rent relief.
Applications can be accessible from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website at PHFA.org. The last day applications will be accepted is Sept. 30.
The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania joins PHFA in this notification to help ensure effective implementation at the local level.
The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania and is intended to help people hurt economically during the pandemic.
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.
For renters to be eligible for financial assistance under the CARES Rent Relief Program (RRP), they will need to document at least a 30% reduction in annual income since March 1 related to COVID-19 or must have become unemployed after March 1 with the same 30% income loss.
If unemployed, the agency will verify their unemployment compensation status with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Their household income cannot exceed the Area Median Income for their county of residence, adjusted for the number of people in their home.
Renters who qualify may receive assistance equal to 100% of their monthly rent up to $750 a month for a maximum of six months of assistance for the time period between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.
Payments will be made to their landlord on their behalf.
Renters or landlords can apply for rent relief for tenants, but a complete application includes documents that must be completed by both the landlord and the renter.
PHFA’s call center is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs. The toll-free number is 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters.
For homeowners impacted by COVID-19, CARES mortgage relief is available directly from PHFA. Details are available on the homepage at PHFA.org; look for the red CARES banner. The state legislature also set aside $25 million in CARES funding for mortgage assistance, and PHFA is administering that program.