PHILADELPHIA – The City today released initial outcomes of its COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, launched in early May. After receiving nearly 13,000 applications, the City announced it will provide rental assistance payments to 4,000 households. This surpasses the initial goal of serving 3,000 households, but the need is great and the City is seeking donations to keep more children, families and individuals in their homes.
The City’s ability to help additional households was made possible through generous private donations. To date, the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program has raised over $35,000 in donations to supplement its core funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provided under the federal CARES Act.
“I want to thank everyone who has given to this cause to directly support struggling Philadelphians in need,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We recognize that many people are suffering financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why the City quickly stood up small business relief and rental assistance programs. If you can give, I encourage you to do so today so we can continue to help more people.”
To serve more Philadelphians and families in need, individuals and corporations are encouraged to make tax-deductible donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program at www.phlrentassist.org/donate.
In total, 12,983 applications were received with 10,254 of those applicants meeting eligibility requirements for the program. Selected applicants will be notified on a rolling basis, and the first rental payments will be processed in mid-June. The program will be able to provide up to $2,500 for three months of rent for awarded households, and may provide ongoing assistance to households with continued need for up to 12 months as funds are available.
The top five zip codes of eligible applicants were 19149, 19143, 19124, 19134, and 19139. Fifty-two percent of eligible applicants identified as Black, 22 percent identified as White, 15 percent identified as one or more races, and 6 percent identified as Asian. Of eligible applicants, 19.3 percent identified as Hispanic. A full breakdown of self-reported applicant demographic information is available here.
Election Day Guidance: The Philadelphia City Commissioner’s Office must receive all mail-in ballots by 8 p.m. this Tuesday, June 2, regardless of postmark. Residents can use the City’s mobile drop-off locations for mail-in ballots. Find a drop-off location.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, visiting the polls will look a little bit different this year. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. Due to social distancing guidelines, resident’s polling places may be different this election. Voters should double check their polling place for June 2, as it may have changed. For more information on voting during COVID-19, view the City’s 2020 Election Day Guide here.
Department of Health Updates: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 224 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 22,629.
The Department of Public Health noted continued progress in congregate settings, including nursing homes and the Department of Prisons. No additional symptomatic incarcerated individuals have tested positive. Testing of asymptomatic incarcerated individuals is ongoing. Current and cumulative totals of positive cases in Philadelphia prisons are posted on the testing and data page of the City’s COVID-19 website.
The Department of Public Health confirmed six additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 1,284. Of the 1,284 total deaths, 678 (53%) were long-term care facility residents.
The Department of Public Health reports 452 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 872 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).
Safer at Home (Yellow Phase): The City’s Safer at Home plan and executive order outlines how Philadelphia will begin to reopen for business when the current Stay-at-Home Order is lifted, which is expected to occur on Friday, June 5, 2020. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health continues to advise residents that they are “safer at home,” and should only leave to engage in essential activities.
Lower-risk activities permitted to operate within certain parameters during the Safer-at-Home Order (Yellow Phase) include:
- Restaurants (including food trucks and walk-up ordering, no dine-in service)
- Retail businesses (curbside and delivery are strongly encouraged)
- Child care centers
- Outdoor youth day camps and recreation
- Outdoor parks-related amenities
- Office-based businesses (telework still required whenever feasible)
- Consumer banking
- Automobile sales
- Real estate activities
- Warehouse operations
Continued Precautions: As they restart, businesses will be required by the Safer-at-Home Order to follow a safety checklist of operations called “Safe Mode” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional recommendations for different types of businesses and activities are detailed in a separate set of industry-specific guidelines available here. Guidance on outdoor dining will be shared next week.
City Government Operations: The City will implement a “Safe Return to Work” program as it brings employees back to work in a phased manner, based on a prioritized schedule that aligns with City and State guidelines while minimizing the potential for the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Starting June 6, public-facing City services will commence in phases.
Philly 311 Hours: Philly311’s contact center remains open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday through Friday and will also be open extended hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m each weekend through the month of June. Residents can place a service request by calling 3-1-1 or dialing (215) 686-8686 or through submitting service requests online. Language translation services are available.
June Virtual Updates on COVID-19 Coronavirus Response: Starting Monday, June 1 the City will only hold COVID-19 briefings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for members of the media. Press releases will be distributed daily, Monday through Friday.
Testing Site Map: A new testing site finder at phila.gov/testing helps people find a free COVID-19 test in Philadelphia. Anyone can search for a site by address, click on a map location for specific site information, and filter by day of week and by drive-thru or walk-up.
Each of the testing sites has its own requirements, and that information is included for each location on the map. For example, some sites require referrals, appointments, or certain criteria for patients. No sites require payment, insurance, or proof of citizenship. Residents are strongly encouraged to call first for an appointment or referral; all necessary phone numbers are available on the map.
The finder is available in six languages, and the map will continue to be updated as new testing sites are opened.
Expanded Testing Standards: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is recommending COVID-19 coronavirus testing for anyone, regardless of age, who meets this criteria:
- Known or suspected exposure within the last seven days.
- A new cough, new shortness of breath, or two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, new loss of taste or smell.
The expansion of testing recommendations comes as a result of the increasing availability of coronavirus testing at public health and commercial laboratories. Increased testing for the coronavirus is a key part of the City’s and Pennsylvania’s plan to re-open safely.
- City’s COVID-19 homepage: phila.gov/covid-19.
- COVID-19 resources translated into multiple languages.
- Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline: 1 (800) 722-7112.
- Residents can text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to get updates sent to their phones.
- Find out more about testing for COVID-19.
- Businesses with questions about the applicability of the new Safer-at-Home Order’s guidelines to their operations should email email@example.com.
- The PHL COVID-19 Fund continues to solicit donations to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic.
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