In York County, rent and utility help is on the way

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

York County residents facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 will soon have access to nearly $30 million to help pay for rent and utilities thanks to federal and state funding programs.

The county received about $16.2 million from the state's rental and utility assistance program and another $13.4 million from the federal government, said York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler.

"One of the positive attributes of the program is there isn't a cap on the monthly rent," she said.

A previous assistance program had a maximum cap of $750 a month for rental assistance, Wheeler said.

York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler
Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

In addition to paying rent costs, the money can be used to pay for qualifying utilities such as water, sewer, trash removal, electricity, heat and other energy costs. Recipients can also use the money to catch up on overdue bills.

Payments can be sent directly to the landlord or the utility company, Wheeler said.

The program will be administered by the Community Progress Council in York City, and the county is aiming to have it up and running by Monday, she said.

The rental and utilities assistance is the latest in a series of state and federal funding plans to address the economic impact of COVID-19, including the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, or CHIRP, which is being administered by the York County Economic Alliance.

As of Tuesday, the state had distributed more than $552 million to counties for rental assistance programs, according to a tweet from state Treasurer Stacey Garrity. 

Federally, Congress on Wednesday passed a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes expanded emergency unemployment benefits and up to $1,400 in direct payments to individuals.

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