PHFA Rent Relief Program and Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program
These times are trying and scary for all of us. Many also have the additional fear that they can no longer maintain payments to the landlord or mortgage company, and have to live with the unknown as to how much longer they will be able to maintain a roof over their head. Pennsylvania has received funding to assist those impacted by COVID-19 with rent and mortgage relief. North Penn Legal Services, in partnership with many of the agencies you are familiar with, is committed to guiding you along the application process to ensure that you receive the help you are qualified for. We may also be able to assist with legal advice relating to your housing issue along the way.
There are two types of relief available to Pennsylvania homeowners and renters. The Rental Relief Program (RRP) is designed to assist renters who have experienced a job loss or at least a 30% reduction in income due to COVID-19. If you qualify for this assistance (there are some other income guidelines imposed by the state), you may receive assistance of up to $750 a month for up to 6 months. This can only be used to cure delinquencies that occurred between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020.
If your rent is more than $750 a month, your landlord must agree to forgive any amount over the $750, or any amount owed prior to March 1, 2020. This means that if you are eligible for other housing related benefits, you should exhaust those prior to applying for RRP, as your landlord will not be able to accept those benefits after your RRP application has been submitted. North Penn Legal Services has experienced advocates who might be able to help you negotiate this with your landlord. In order to receive this benefit, even if your rent is less than $750 a month, your landlord must agree to participate. Finally, if you are living with roommates (unfortunately spouses count as one household), each individual might be eligible for assistance up to the total amount of rent owed for the month.
The second type of assistance available is the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP). The qualifications to receive this benefit are very similar to the Rental Relief Program (RRP) discussed above. How this program differs is that qualified individuals may receive mortgage assistance payments of up to $1,000 for up to 6 months. The time frame remains the same as the RRP, and your mortgage company must agree to release any obligation for monies owed in excess of and prior to assistance provided under this program. There are other criteria for receiving benefits under this program, such as the position of the lien on your home. This assistance only applies to first or second liens. North Penn Legal Services may be able to assist you in determining whether you are currently able to receive these funds and helping to guide you through this process.
Many renters and homeowners have experienced frustrations in applying for assistance. These issues are highlighted in a recent Spotlight PA article about the rental assistance process. We encourage all those who need assistance to file applications and if you are unable to do so at this time, check back for any changes in the program. We will provide updates on any changes to these programs on this website and to our clients.
If you have any questions as to whether these programs might be available to you, or if you are facing an eviction or foreclosure, contact one of our intake workers by calling: 877-953-4250 Monday through Thursday from 9-11:30 a.m. or 1:30-4 p.m. (no Friday hours) or apply online anytime: www.northpennlegal.org/get-help. To find the County Contact Information for applying directly for assistance, follow this link: County Contact List for PHFA Assistance.