After five months of administering CARES financial assistance for renters, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is providing final summary data about the Rent Relief Program’s performance, which started accepting applications on July 6. An executive order extended the program from Governor Tom Wolf on Oct. 5; it accepted applications through Nov. 4.
For the CARES Rent Relief Program (RRP), all 67 participating county organizations have now submitted their final performance data, and that data has been confirmed. A table providing key performance metrics is available on the PHFA website.
“The CARES Rent Relief Program was a major undertaking that required extensive coordination between PHFA and our partner county organizations under extreme time pressure,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “While we all would have liked to have assisted even more renters, we are grateful for the thousands of people we were able to help stay in their homes. We have learned valuable lessons we hope will be applied by the state legislature if additional CARES money is provided to Pennsylvania.
“I want to thank all the county organizations who partnered with us on this effort. The successes we had would never have been possible without their engagement and hard work.”
Summary data for the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program will be made available once it is completed and verified.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania. 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 was at least $150 million, and $25 million was set aside for mortgage assistance.
During June 2020, PHFA quickly developed two detailed, statewide programs for distributing this financial assistance expeditiously to renters and homeowners in need, following legislative requirements. This effort included extensive coordination with the organizations in all 67 counties processing the renters’ applications. The CARES Rent Relief Program and the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program were both launched on schedule on June 29, as was required in the state CARES Act. In accordance with the state CARES Act, funding for renters had to be completely distributed by Nov. 30, 2020.
Ongoing Questions from Applicants
Applicants with ongoing questions about their applications for rent relief should reach out to the organization in their county processing applications. A county contact list with phone numbers, emails, and street addresses is available on the PHFA website.
Questions from homeowners about their PMAP application should be directed to PHFA. The agency’s call center is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about PMAP. The toll-free number is 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Of course, PHFA is also getting calls from renters and is assisting them, too.