Gov. Tom Wolf has announced the launch of a program that will deliver rapid relief to millions of Pennsylvanians at risk of eviction or loss of utility service. With federal funds allocated through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the Wolf Administration built the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in partnership with the General Assembly through Act 1 of 2021 to distribute about $569 million to Pennsylvania households through partnerships with local leaders. An additional $278 million in rental assistance was directly allocated to Pennsylvania’s largest counties by the federal government.
Pennsylvania households may be eligible for up to 12 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and/or utility payments. Assistance can be provided to a tenant for future rental payments and for unpaid rental or utility arrears that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020, on a residential rental property. Residential tenants may apply for themselves, or a landlord/utility provider may apply on behalf of a current tenant.
Pennsylvanians may submit applications for this program online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Twenty counties have opted to accept applications from county residents through their own application process. Directions on how to apply appear on the compass site.
To qualify for assistance, a household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property and meet each of the following criteria:
- One or more people within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic; AND
- One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
- The household has an income at or below 80% of area median income, which varies by county. Income limits by county are available on the state Department of Human Services’ website.
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