Luzerne County has significant emergency rental assistance funds available

Luzerne County still has a large coronavirus aid fund available for rent and aid to utilities.

The state and federal government have provided four earmarks totaling nearly $ 32 million to the county for the emergency rent assistance program.

About $ 6.5 million in payments have been approved for financially distressed residential tenants due to the COVID-19 pandemic as of September 10, county director of community development Andrew Reilly said.

This leaves $ 25.3 million available for emergency aid.

Reilly said his office was working with the Economic Opportunities Commission (CEO), which manages the program on behalf of the county, to republish the program and ensure residents know it is still in effect.

“We want to make sure we don’t miss anyone,” Reilly said on Monday.

Based on a report up to September 10, the CEO has received 3,125 requests for assistance to date and approved 1,535.

Collectively, the approved applicants received $ 6.01 million for rent assistance and $ 460,000 for utilities, he said.

The county initially received $ 9.4 million shortly before it began accepting nominations in March and subsequently received additional funding of $ 7.4 million, $ 11.4 million and $ 3.6 million. dollars, said Reilly.

Funds can be used to pay rent and utility costs incurred after March 13, 2020. Future rent payments may also be covered, with recertification of eligibility required every three months.

Landlords can apply for tenants, but tenants must provide eligibility documents.

To be eligible, a rental household must be eligible for unemployment or have experienced financial hardship as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of hardship may include a spell of unemployment, declining income, or increased household expenses.

Next, the rental household must demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability, late or overdue rent or utilities, or a notice of eviction or closure of utilities due to a delay or delay. ‘a non-payment.

Finally, the tenant must meet the income criteria to be eligible. Applicant households must have an income equal to or less than 80% of the region’s median income.

Maximum gross annual income based on household size: one person, $ 40,150; two people, $ 45,900; three people, $ 51,650; four people, $ 57,350; five people, $ 61,950; six people, $ 66,550; seven people, $ 71,150; and eight people, $ 75,750.

The following documents must be submitted by tenants: an application; a written lease or documentation of a verbal lease; documentation of all gross income; copies of utility bills, if utility assistance is requested; and a candidate’s certificate.

Landlords must provide a landlord application, proof of rental property ownership, and a W-9 form.

Applications and more information about the program are available on the CEO’s website at Completed applications can be submitted through the website, emailed to [email protected] or mailed to the CEO at PO Box 1126, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703-1126.

Candidates with questions or requests for assistance completing the required forms can contact the CEO at 1-800-822-0359 on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Walk-in visits are not accepted at this time due to COVID-19.

State officials also urged residents to apply.

“Pennsylvanians fearing deportation don’t have to go through this alone,” Acting Secretary of the State Department of Social Services Meg Snead said in a statement earlier this month. “Evictions and housing insecurity will affect our economic recovery, our workforce, our schools and all parts of our society. “

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