Pennsylvanians needing help paying their rent and utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for the Department of Human Services’ new Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). This program can help people pay unpaid rent and utility bills that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020. It can also help people make future rent and/or utility payments. Households can get up to 12 months of assistance through this program. ERAP will run until approximately September 2021 or until the funding is exhausted (Pennsylvania received approximately $569 million to administer assistance).
To qualify for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a household must be responsible to pay rent and meet all of the following criteria. Resources (like bank accounts or cars) are not considered for ERAP eligibility.
One or more people in the household have qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic;
One or more people in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
You must meet income limits that vary by county. These limits can be found here.
The ERAP application is available on the COMPASS website. Some counties have their own application and COMPASS will direct people to their county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program as appropriate.
Additional information about the program, including links to paper applications and contact information for ERAP county offices and more about what information is needed to apply, can be found here.