PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia launched an emergency rental assistance program today that is expected to keep at least 3,000 families in their homes. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will make rent payments for people who have lost income because of COVID-19.
“Unprecedented job losses have placed financial pressure on both renters and landlords,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help thousands of Philadelphia renters and, in turn, help landlords. Keeping people in their homes is critical during this crisis.”
Program information is available at PHLRentAssist.org. Renters may begin submitting applications on Tuesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, May 16, at 5 p.m. Renters who do not have access to the internet or a smart phone will be able to get program and application information by calling 3-1-1.
To be eligible, renters must:
- Rent an apartment or house in Philadelphia
- Have a valid and current written lease signed by landlord
- Have lost income because of COVID-19
Renters do not have to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to be eligible.
Assistance is limited to renters whose households earn 50% or less of the area median income. By household size, that limit is:
- 1 person: $33,850 per year
- 2 people: $38,650 per year
- 3 people: $43,500 per year
- 4 people: $48,300 per year
- 5 people: $52,200 per year
- 6 people: $56,050 per year
- 7 people: $59,900 per year
- 8 people: $63,800 per year
Income guidelines apply to household income before the COVID-19 related income loss.
When they apply, renters must provide:
- A valid and current written lease signed by landlord
- Proof of income from before the COVID-19-related income loss for all adult members of household
- Valid ID that matches name on lease
To apply renters will have to submit:
- Online application
- Housing Condition Survey
- Affidavit confirming loss of income due to COVID-19
Applicants will be able to fill out these documents through the PHLRentAssist.org website when the application period opens on Tuesday, May 12. Renters who do not have access to the internet or a smart phone will be able to get program and application information by calling 3-1-1.
For the renter to participate the renter’s landlord must:
- Accept the rental payment (the first three months of assistance will be May, June and July 2020)
- Have a rental license and be current on City taxes. If necessary, landlords will be given one week to resolve these issues with the City.
- Not pursue eviction for non-payment while receiving rental assistance from the City or for six months after the final City payment
- Waive any late fees or penalties for rent not paid in April and May
- Provide six months after the final payment from the City to repay any missed rent from April and any unpaid rent from the period while the tenant is receiving assistance from the City
Renters are NOT eligible if:
- They live in public housing
- Receive other government rental assistance (Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers, etc.)
- They have unpaid rent from before April
- They are in the process of being evicted
Applicants selected will receive emergency rental assistance for three months. A re-evaluation will take place every three months. It is possible that assistance may be extended for additional months if funding permits and the renter still qualifies.
The program is funded with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds provided under the federal CARES Act. Enough funding is available to serve at least 3,000 households for three consecutive months. Income guidelines are based on federal CDBG low-income guidelines.
Individuals and corporations are able to make tax-deductible donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the website. “We have seen deep and heartfelt generosity during this time from people across our City. This is a great way that Philadelphians can help their neighbors in their time of need,” said Mayor Kenney.