COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions will leave many families with reduced or no income. As a result, paying for housing will become a challenge for some.
There are resources available to help Philadelphia renters and homeowners facing housing issues. There are also steps we can take to help housing markets recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Many of the City-funded housing counseling agencies are operating remotely. If your issue is not addressed in the sections below, please reach out to one of them. Information about many housing issues is available in the Division of Housing and Community Development’s Housing Resource Guide.
For those experiencing homelessness or facing homelessness, the City’s homeless intake centers are open. There are specific resources available for survivors of domestic violence and youth ages 12-17.
All eviction and lockout proceedings have been suspended through at least April 30.
If your landlord changes your locks or otherwise tries to force you out, call 911, contact the Tenant Hotline (267-443-2500), file an emergency petition with the Court of Common Pleas, and file a complaint with the Attorney General.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered that no foreclosures take place during the COVID-19 crisis. Homeowners concerned about foreclosure can call the City-funded SaveYourHomePhilly hotline at 215-334-HOME (4663).
Those facing financial hardship may find mortgage lenders are willing to adjust monthly payments. If you are unable to pay your mortgage contact your lender to see what options you may have.
There will be no gas, electric, water or landline phone shutoffs in Philadelphia until at least May 1. In addition, the Philadelphia Water Department will restore service to delinquent customers whose service has been terminated. The reactivation fee will be waived. PGW and PECO are waiving new late payment charges through at least May 1.
First-time Homebuyer Assistance
The City of Philadelphia offers help to first-time homebuyers through its Philly First Home program run by PHDC. However, while PHDC offices are closed due to COVID-19, PHDC will not accept Philly First Home applications. PHDC has completed processing all approved applications. Grant funds and documents for previously approved applications will be sent directly to the title company. Clients may want to contact their lender and title company to postpone settlement if the Philly First Home grant funds are required for closing. PHDC will begin accepting applications once its offices reopen.
Home Repair Programs
Philadelphia helps homeowners with emergency repairs to basic systems through its Basic Systems Repair Program. It also helps residents with disabilities have greater access to and mobility within the home through the Adaptive Modifications Program. PHDC runs these programs. While PHDC offices are closed due to COVID-19, PHDC will not accept applications for these programs. PHDC will begin accepting applications once its offices reopen.
Homeowners can, however, begin the process of obtaining a low-interest home repair loan. Restore, Repair, Renew is a City initiative to help Philadelphia homeowners access low-interest loans to invest in their properties. Program lenders offer10-year, 3% fixed Annual Percentage Rate loans that range from $2,500 to $24,999 to eligible homeowners. The first step in the process is to contact Clarifi or Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement, the City’s program partners.
Role of the Federal and State Governments
COVID-19 will have short- and long-term impacts on renters, homeowners, landlords and developers. Congress and the President, as well as the Pennsylvania legislature and the Governor, can take steps now to support our residents and businesses. Temporary assistance, rental payment insurance, free wi fi, small business loans and long-term funding can all support the housing market.