The moratorium on home evictions is coming to a close and Bucks County’s director of housing and community development said the county is preparing.
“This is a challenging time for tenants and landlords,” said Jeffrey Fields, during the commissioner’s weekly, virtual press conference. He referred all those who may be facing eviction to the Bucks County Housing Link – 800-810-4434.
The staff there, said Fields, can refer callers to resources and help connect them with services. He stressed the importance of communicating with one’s landlord and discussing the situation. Fields also recommended that anyone who anticipates eviction, collect their documents, such as a lease, Social Security card, pay stubs and other proof of income or unemployment.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s eviction moratorium ends July 10.
Fields acknowledged that Bucks County has experienced about a 10 percent increase in homelessness since the COVID-19 pandemic, based on calls to the housing hotline. “It’s not that dramatic, but it is significant,” the housing director said. “We are mobilizing ourselves to respond,” he added.
Bucks is “prepared for an increase in evictions,” said Fields. Commissioner Bob Harvie said money has been set aside from the federal CARES Act to assist with housing.
Some Pennsylvania renters may qualify for $750 a month, for six months, and homeowners may be able to receive $1,000 month, for six months, according to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency website. Applications can be found there and will be accepted beginning July 6.
Other issues discussed included the county’s move to the “green” level of the state’s reopening plan. Dr. David Damsker, Bucks County’s health department director, said the number of new virus cases, about 10 to 20 per day, have remained stable. That number is likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future, he noted.
Bars have been a concern, as alcohol tends to encourage “bad decisions,” said Damsker. “We want them to thrive, succeed, but they have to follow the rules,” he said, of the county’s bars and restaurants.
“Green doesn’t mean gone,” warned the doctor.
In light of recent events across the country and region, the commissioners were asked about the county’s monuments and whether any might be considered “controversial.” The board agreed that it was not aware of any that could be problematic.