Allegheny County officials are urging residents who need emergency rent or utility relief — and who have not yet applied for it — to do so before March 31.
Persons who qualify for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, can have past-due rent and utility payments made — if funding remains available — but their applications must be received before March 31.
Individuals who have already applied will continue to have their requests processed, a county spokesperson said.
To date, more than 13,000 households have received rental assistance totaling over $89.7 million through the program. Including utility assistance, $94,957,857 has been paid to date.
Applicants are eligible for ERAP assistance if they have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applicants must provide proof that they have lost a job or income, or that their expenses increased due to medical bills or caring for a family member. Applicants also may qualify for assistance if they were laid off prior to the start of the pandemic, but were unable to find a new job due to COVID-19.
In addition to proof of income, applicants need to show proof of residency in Allegheny County, as well as past-due bills for rent or utilities.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is administered by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. ACTION-Housing is the program manager.
Mon Valley Initiative is one of several organizations that has partnered with Allegheny County and ACTION-Housing to help residents apply to the ERAP program.
In addition, MVI and other partner agencies can connect applicants with other longer-term programs that can provide assistance when ERAP funds have been expended. This includes the Low-Income Energy Home Assistance Program, the Low-Income Household Water Assistance and the Dollar Energy Fund.
To apply for ERAP assistance directly, visit https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us. Users will need a valid email account to use the website.
Residents who do not have email, or who need help applying, may contact MVI at 412-464-4000, ext. 4000, or email Deborah Mattie, employment & financial coach, at email@example.com.
The ERAP program, to date, has served more than 31,000 households in Allegheny County, officials said, paying an average award of $6,841 for nine months of expenses.
Of eligible households, 51 percent have no other earned income and 88 percent make less than 50 percent of the area median income. The median household monthly income for those applying for assistance is $1,053, compared to the median household monthly income for households in Allegheny County of $5,082.
In addition, 64 percent of households who qualified had someone who had been unemployed for more than 90 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while 57 percent of households had other financial hardships due to the pandemic.