WEST CHESTER (July 2, 2020) – Renters and homeowners who were financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can now access applications for rent and mortgage relief, State Senator Andy Dinniman announced.

The applications are available by clicking on a red CARES banner on the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website at www.PHFA.org. PHFA is administering programs to help both renters and homeowners.

For Chester County residents, applications should be submitted through the Housing Authority of Chester County. It will begin accepting complete applications on July 6.

“Many of my constituents have called with growing concerns and anxieties on their ability to make payments for their homes or apartments. With the state ban on eviction set to expire July 10, those fears are further heightened,” Dinniman said. “If you lost income due to the pandemic-related closures, are behind on your rent or mortgage payments, or are at risk of being homeless, you may be eligible for rent or mortgage assistance through this program.”

Renters will submit their applications and supporting paperwork to these organizations for review. Homeowners seeking assistance with payment of their past-due mortgage will have two options for submitting their applications directly to PHFA: using a web-based process or using a printable version that can be completed and mailed to the agency.

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania and is intended to help people hurt economically during the pandemic. In late May, the General Assembly directed $175 million of these CARES dollars to PHFA to assist struggling renters and homeowners. The portion for rent assistance is at least $150 million, and $25 million was set aside for mortgage assistance.

During June, in a period of about four weeks, PHFA developed detailed programs for distributing this financial assistance quickly to people in need while following legislative requirements.

“We know people have been eagerly awaiting applications for this assistance, and they will be available Monday,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “This CARES funding for renters and homeowners is vital for helping people stay in their homes and reducing some of the stress associated with the current pandemic. Stable housing is critical for beginning our economic recovery from this health crisis.”

The agency’s call center will be available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs. The toll-free number is 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters and homeowners

The Housing Authority of Chester County has also hired two new full-time employees to assist with the program. For assistance on applications, call 484-367-HELP (4357). Krystal Bentz is handling the processing of applications and calls.

The CARES funding for renters and homeowners must be completely distributed by Nov. 30, 2020, although it is expected the assistance will be exhausted before the deadline because of the tremendous need by people hurt financially by the pandemic.