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Rental relief program to offer $750 a month to renters, homeowners struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic

Money from the federal CARES Act was set aside for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and eligible for use June 29.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — County commissioners across Pennsylvania believe hundreds, if not thousands of people have been unable to make monthly rent payments to landlords because of difficult economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, the state legislature set aside $175 million of the $3.9 billion of federal CARES Act funding given to the commonwealth for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; $150 million would go towards rental relief efforts, and $25 million for mortgage relief. Each county was appropriated a different amount based on population. Applications for CARES assistance for renters and homeowners is available starting June 29.

"There are now hundreds, maybe close to thousands of filings at magisterial district judges offices, and now that we’re getting to re-open, there are going to be a number of landlord-tenant concerns," said Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick. "There’s a mix with people who might have the resources to do it and chose not to, and those who really have been struggling as a result of the coronavirus that are really in dire need of this help."

Eligibility will be determined through the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and records obtained through unemployment compensation requests. Eligible Pennsylvanians would be able to receive $750 a month for up to a year. Rental relief would only be accessible for future rent payments, not previous months. 

Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order disallowing evictions as a result of rent payments not being met due to the COVID-19 pandemic through at least July 10.