Renters and homeowners in Pennsylvania who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to qualify for financial assistance towards their rent or mortgage. This funding is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in March and gave money to state governments to support economic recovery. Pennsylvania has allocated $175 million of their CARES Act funding to provide rent and mortgage relief.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is responsible for distributing the $175 million. Applications became available on July 6th and will be accepted until September 30th. However, funding is expected to run out well before the deadline due to the tremendous need by people hurt financially by the pandemic. To qualify, individuals must have become unemployed after March 1st or had their annual household income reduced by 30% due to reduced work hours and wages.

Renters will submit their applications and supporting paperwork to a designated organization in their county. PHFA has identified partnering organizations in all 67 counties to help process the large number of rent relief applications (Find your county’s organization here). In Philadelphia, the process if managed by the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation. Applications for rent relief require the involvement of both the landlord and the renter. Completed applications should be mailed to the county office. Renters in Philadelphia are able to apply online. Eligible renters could receive up to $750 a month. The payments will be made directly to the landlord.

Homeowners seeking mortgage relief will apply through PHFA. Assistance is capped at $1,000 per month for a maximum period of six months per mortgage. Payments will be made directly to the lender. The full application can be completed online. Hard-copy applications can also be downloaded, printed, and submitted by mail.

PHFA’s call center can be reached at 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466) on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs. Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters and homeowners.