HARRISBURG, Pa. (WPMT) — Starting today, renters and homeowners who were financially impacted by the economic slowdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to access applications for rent and mortgage relief, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency said.
The applications will be available by clicking on a red CARES banner on the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website. The red banner is already live on the site advising people of the date applications will be available, the PHFA said.
Partnering organizations in all 67 Pennsylvania counties have been identified to help process the anticipated large number of relief applications, the PHFA said. Renters will submit their applications and supporting paperwork to these organizations for review, according to the PHFA.
Homeowners seeking assistance with payment of their past-due mortgage will have two options for submitting their applications directly to PHFA: using a web-based process or using a printable version that can be completed and mailed to the agency, the PHFA said.
The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania and is intended to help people hurt economically during the pandemic. In late May, the General Assembly directed $175 million of these CARES dollars to PHFA to provide assistance for struggling renters and homeowners. The portion for rent assistance is at least $150 million, and $25 million was set aside for mortgage assistance.
During June, in a period of about four weeks, PHFA developed detailed programs for distributing this financial assistance quickly to people in need while following legislative requirements. The agency will begin accepting completed applications for both rental and mortgage assistance on July 6.
“We know people have been eagerly awaiting applications for this assistance, and they will be available Monday,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “This CARES funding for renters and homeowners is vital for helping people stay in their homes and reducing some of the stress associated with the current pandemic. Stable housing is critical for beginning our economic recovery from this health crisis.”
The agency’s call center will be available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs. The toll-free number is 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters and homeowners. The county organizations to which CARES applications are submitted also have webpages offering useful information.
The CARES funding for renters and homeowners must be completely distributed by Nov. 30, 2020, although it is expected the assistance will be exhausted before the deadline because of the tremendous need by people hurt financially by the pandemic.
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