Source: KYW
Byline: Pat Loeb
Date: 7/6/2020

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvanians who’ve lost income because of the COVID-19 response can apply now for rental assistance. Philadelphians are eligible even if they applied for a similar program in May.

The first round of rental assistance, in May, drew 13,000 people to apply. There was enough money for only 4,000, so applications were picked at random.

However, this time, the money is coming from the federal CARES Act, through the state. City officials hope to serve 6,300 renters with payments for up to six months, but there are new rules. One of them is that the assistance must be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Officials say it’s important to get an application in early.

Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation is overseeing the program. Greg Heller, senior vice president, says there’s more money this time around, but he still expects demand to exceed what’s available.

Tenants fill out the application first. Then their landlord has to agree to the terms, which include no attempt at eviction for 60 days after the payments and no fees or charges above the payment, which tops out at $750 per month.

“When tenants aren’t paying rent, landlords aren’t getting rent. And many landlords in Philadelphia are small businesses, so we think many landlords will want to participate,” Heller said.

“I think many landlords would prefer to have the money now rather than to go through their other options, including eviction, so we’re hopeful that many landlords will accept the funds in spite of some of the requirements.”

Philadelphia renters who do not have access to the internet should call 215-334-4663.

The assistance is available statewide this time, and there are links to the applications for each county.