The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is available for renters of residential properties who are at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs due to hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of tenants and receive assistance directly if the tenant is eligible. ERAP is an unprecedented investment in the health and well-being of entire communities, but it cannot help if you do not apply. If you are in need of assistance, don’t wait. Apply today.
How Can ERAP Help?
Households may be eligible for up to 12 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rent and/or utility payments. ERAP can also help cover rehousing costs for someone who is currently experiencing homelessness or in unstable housing. The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not preclude eligibility, but the amount of ERAP assistance provided to a household is determined by program administrators at the county level. With an average benefit of about $6,000, these funds can help ease circumstances for both tenants and landlords.
Assistance can be provided to a tenant in a residential rental property for future rental payments and for unpaid rental or utility arrears that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Residential tenants may apply for themselves, or a landlord may apply on behalf of a current tenant. Also, landlords do not have to agree to participate in the program for tenants to receive assistance, but landlords are strongly encouraged to work collaboratively with their tenants so both parties can benefit from this assistance.
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 COIVD-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 percent of area median income, which varies by county. Income limits by county are available can be found here. Resources (like bank accounts and cars) are not counted for ERAP eligibility.
How to Apply
Pennsylvanians can learn more about how to apply in their specific county at www.dhs.pa.gov/erap. The online application is available in English and Spanish. Applications can also download and print an application or obtain an application from their county ERAP office. DHS has also translated the paper application into Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese, and Cambodian and made those available to all participating counties.
Applicants will need to provide the following information: head of household’s personal information, income information for all household members 18 and older, rental lease and amount owed, landlord’s name, and landlord’s contact information. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide utility expenses and utility provider information.
Applicants should be prepared to provide documents that substantiate information provided, such as pay stubs, tax filings, unemployment letters, and rental/utility arrears. However, if applicants do not have documents, county ERAP offices will work with applicants to obtain documents or written attestations.
More information about ERAP can be found at www.dhs.pa.gov/erap.