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Human Services reminds Pennsylvanians to apply for housing, utility and emergency assistance programs

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Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today encouraged Pennsylvanians who have been affected financially by the COVID-19 public-health crisis to take advantage of programs designed to help with rent payments and utility bills. Miller also advised of the upcoming July 12 deadline to apply for the Emergency Assistance Program, a one-time cash assistance program for families and pregnant women who have lost income or employment due to COVID-19.

The Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) helps low-income families who lost wages and are experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program uses existing federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds and is open to families with a child under the age of 18 or a woman who is currently pregnant. Families who qualify for EAP will be eligible for a one-time payment to assist them in meeting their financial needs.

Applications are due by July 12. More information on the program and eligibility is available at https://www.dhs.pa.gov/providers/Providers/Pages/Coronavirus-Emergency-Assistance-Program.aspx/

DHS is releasing $10 million through the CARES Act to Pennsylvania counties for the County Homeless Assistance Program (HAP). HAP is a program that offers rental assistance, emergency shelter and supportive housing services to more than 28,000 individuals and families experiencing or at risk for homelessness prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information on HAP can be found at https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Other-Services/Pages/Homeless-Assistance.aspx. County HAP contacts are available at https://www.dhs.pa.gov/contact/Pages/Homeless-Assistance-Contacts.aspx.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is offering housing-related financial assistance. Applications are available at www.PHFA.org for both rental and mortgage assistance (look for the red CARES banner). All 67 counties have local organizations helping PHFA by processing the rent relief applications. PHFA will process the mortgage relief applications.

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) has clarified that utility shutoff moratoriums are in effect until Gov. Wolf’s disaster order is lifted. Utility assistance, however, is still available.

DHS administers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Crisis Recovery Program, which provides assistance for home energy bills, helping ensure continuity of utility and other energy services for low-income Pennsylvanians. The LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program offers a crisis benefit for households that received a crisis payment made directly to utility companies or fuel providers to help offset costs for home utilities.

More information is available at https://www.dhs.pa.gov/providers/Providers/Pages/LIHEAP-Recovery-Crisis-Program.aspx.

The electric and natural gas utilities that PUC oversees offer Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs), under which qualifying low-income customers pay discounted bills. Qualification in CAP programs is based on household size and gross household income. Utilities also have a variety of other options to help consumers.


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