Eviction moratorium ends this week: Here's what to do if you need help

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, housing activists erect a sign in Swampscott, Mass. A federal freeze on most evictions is set to expire soon. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, was the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

With the end of a federal eviction moratorium this weekend, York County officials are urging residents to apply for millions of dollars in emergency rental assistance.

Officials with the state, York County and York City pleaded with residents to take advantage of what they called unprecedented relief amid a global pandemic, which for more than a year has battered the job market and left many unemployed.

The federal Emergency Rent Assistance Program will offer an additional layer of aid after the moratorium expires on Saturday, they said.

“This program was deliberately designed to help people dig out of what may be some very big financial holes by helping tenants with direct financial assistance to cover past due or upcoming rent or utility payments,” said Meg Snead, acting secretary of the state Department of Human Services.

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Under the program, through which York County received nearly $13.4 million, qualifying households are eligible for up to 18 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and utility payments.

The relief applies to debt accrued on or after March 13, 2020. A tenant does not need a landlord's permission to apply for relief.

“If folks become homeless because of this pandemic, the entire economy of our community will suffer," said Community Progress Council CEO Robin Rohrbauh. "Many families will suffer; people will be separated. This is the time we need to address this issue.”

To qualify for emergency rent relief, tenants must meet the following criteria:

  • One or more people within the household must be qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced a decrease in income, faced increased household costs or struggled with other financial hardships due to the pandemic
  • One or more individuals in the household must show they are at risk of homelessness or housing instability
  • The household must also have an income at or below 80% of the county's median income, details of which can be found at https://www.dhs.pa.gov/coronavirus/Documents/ERAP%20Income%20Limits%20of%20AMI%20by%20County.pdf.

“The ERAP funding, simply put, saves lives," said York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler on Monday.

Those who apply will need to supply the head of household's personal information; income information for all household adults; a lease and the amount owed; and contact information for the landlord.

York County residents who are interested can apply at https://www.yorkcpc.org/take-action/.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.

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