NORRISTOWN, PA – During their regularly scheduled meeting, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners announced the return of a funding program to help renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19. The program comes as the CDC’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on March 31 and Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission’s utility shutoff moratorium ends on April 1.
The Rent and Utility Relief Program, administered by Your Way Home, allows eligible households to receive up to 12 months of assistance for rent and utility bills dating back to March 13, 2020. Assistance can be for past due rent and/or utility payments or future rent payments. Funding for security deposits, first and/or last month of rent is also eligible as part of the program. There is no financial limit on the amount of assistance a household can receive.
“We know that many people across Montgomery County are still facing job loss and economic impacts due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners. “We are extremely grateful to be able to open up another round of rent and utility relief to our residents as we begin our road to recovery.”
$55,055,660 million dollars is available for the program in Montgomery County through a combination of state and federal funding. $24,795,001 was allocated from the US Treasury for Emergency Rental Assistance and $30,260,659 was allocated from the Commonwealth as a pass through from the US Treasury.
“This new round of funding will allow us to expand on our previous support to renters and landlords experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr., Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Through this program we can provide housing stability to hundreds of low and moderate-income Montgomery County residents at risk of eviction and homelessness.”
Eligibility requirements for the Rent and Utility Relief Program include:
· Household must reside in Montgomery County at the time of application, AND
· One or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic, AND
· The household can demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability, AND
· Household must be at or below 80% of Area Median Income at the time of application.
80% of Area Median Income for Montgomery County households is as follows:
1 Person 2 People 3 People 4 People 5 People 6 People 7 People 8 People
$54,150 $61,850 $69,600 $77,300 $83,500 $89,700 $95,900 $102,050
Income eligibility will be based on average gross income over the 30 days preceding the time of assistance. Income includes earned income, child support, welfare benefits, Social Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), unemployment income, workman’s compensation, and any pension, investments, or 401K funds.
To apply, residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211. Applications can be done over the phone, in person, emailed, or a combination. Residents can also reach out to one of six partner organizations below to learn more about the program and apply:
· ALCAMO: Visit www.aclamo.org or call (610) 277-2570 (Norristown) or (610) 970-2134 (Pottstown).
· Family Services of Montgomery County: Email ERU@fsmontco.org or call (610) 630-2111 x235.
· Manna on Main Street: Visit www.mannaonmain.org/need-help/getting-help or call (215) 855-5454.
· YWCA Tri-County Area: Visit www.ywcatricountyarea.org/ERUC.
· CADCOM: Visit www.cadcom.org/pre-screen-form-eruc-cadcom.
· Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities: Visit www.pottstowncluster.org/covidrentutilityassistance or call (484) 393-5441.
To apply, residents need the following items:
· A copy of a lease or proof of consistent rental payments at their address.
· Photo identification.
· An overdue rent or utility notice, if applicable.
· Current income documentation for all adults in the household.
· Proof of unemployment received or applied for, if applicable.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Montgomery County’s 2021 Rent and Utility Relief Program will evaluate applications based on priority, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis. Prioritized rental households will be at or below 50% of Average Median Income and in areas with higher shares of households living in poverty, cost-burdened low-income renters, severely overcrowded households, or unemployed people. This program aims to serve an estimated 1,900 – 3,800 households.
In 2020, Montgomery County distributed $4.48 million dollars in rent and utility relief to over 1,100 households in Montgomery County. The PHFA Rent Relief Program delivered $1.8 million in rent relief to 545 households in Montgomery County.
About Your Way Home Emergency Rent & Utility Coalition
Your Way Home Montgomery County serves as the county’s unified and coordinated housing crisis response system for families and individuals experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness. To learn more visit www.yourwayhome.org or follow Your Way Home on Facebook and Twitter.
Your Way Home Emergency Rent and Utility Coalition aims to:
· Raise public and policymaker awareness of the needs of low-income and ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families and individuals in Montgomery County on the brink of homelessness due to poverty caused by a health crisis, job loss, pay inequality, underemployment and/or systemic racism.
· Advocate for more public and private funding for emergency rent and utility programs for both Your Way Home funded and independently funded service providers.
· Create a forum for emergency rent and utility service providers and funders to share resources, best practices, lessons learned and innovative solutions.
Media Contact: Kelly Cofrancisco, firstname.lastname@example.org