Frequently Asked Questions

We know the application process can be confusing, so we are answering some commonly asked questions. Please contact ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021 or email ACTION-Housing if your question isn’t answered here.

Updated: March 7, 2022

Questions and Answers from March 4, 2022, Town Hall

I’ve been getting funds since July of last year to go towards my rent. Will I still be getting these funds until July 2022 or September?
The last month applicants will be able to get rent paid is May 2002 due to funding running out.

Will any additional help be given since money is running out and will not be available in the month of May?
There are other programs, with different requirements, that can be accessed through the Allegheny Link – 1-866-730-2368. Check out these resources too: https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us/other-resources/.

What if you have applied for utility assistance only and nothing has been paid yet?
Once we send a payment to the utility company, we wait on them. If you are not in Step 4 yet and we haven’t sent anything to your utility company, please get your documents (utility bills) uploaded as soon as you can. You can also visit one of the drop-in centers for help with this. Please make sure all your utility bills and other information necessary to process your utility payment request is submitted before March 31, 2022. No referrals will be sent to Dollar Energy Fund after March 31st.

We [landlords] have about 40-50 residents that now want to apply for the ERAP funds.  Can we hold a clinic within the next two weeks?
Yes, please do help your tenants. Due to high participation in ERAP, ACTION-Housing staff is busy processing applications and can’t help with facilitating clinics. However, we’re happy to share a list of required documents with you.

I have been in payment processing for over a month and my landlord is not happy. My landlord and I have emailed and called and haven’t heard back in weeks.
We appreciate your continued patience. We know it’s hard waiting. We just hired more staff to be with us for the next six weeks to help people more quickly. Someone will get back to you. If you can’t wait, consider stopping by the Housing Stabilization Center at 415 Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh; Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If I submit for January, February, and March rent and utility payments today, will the system open back up on March 15th to apply for April and May?
Yes, you can request April and May payments if your application is processed by March 15th.

What if you applied for both rent and utility assistance but only need help with one? Do you need to delete the first application and do another one?
No, don’t delete it. Send an email with your T-number to ACTION-Housing at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org and let us know that you want to switch your ask and upload the appropriate documents.

I have an aunt that applied and received a response that she would be paid for her tenant but has yet to receive the funds.
Please ask her to email ACTION-Housing at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org. Attach the award letter and include her T-number and we’ll investigate it.

I had to get recertified this month. When will this be processed and when will March rent be paid?
You will be paid if you’re still eligible. Due to high participation in ERAP, processing applications has taken more time so please continue to be patient with us. You can check the status of your application at any time here: https://acdhscrrp.alleghenycounty.us/CITIZEN/Security/Disclaimer. Please check the notes to ensure we have all the documentation we need to make the payment.

Where are Drop-In Centers?
There are nine drop-in centers throughout the county. Find out where they are and when they’re open. Hours of operation vary by location. None of the centers are open on the weekends.

I have been getting payments, but they have stopped, and I know have uploaded everything. What should I do?
If you submitted your application with the required documents, then it’s just taking time. We know it’s hard waiting and appreciate your patience. You can check the status of your application at any time here: https://acdhscrrp.alleghenycounty.us/CITIZEN/Security/Disclaimer. You can also email ACTION-Housing at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org and ask for an update. Please include your full name, address, and T-number in your email.

Why has my payment been in process for over a month now?
If your application is in the processing phase, that means we’ve submitted the payment and it’s in the bank’s hands. Larger banks tend to process payments more quickly. There is also a chance there was an error so please email ACTION-Housing at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org after 10 days and we will help you figure it out.

I’m still unemployed. Can I request assistance for future months such as April?
If you are still eligible for ERAP you can request additional months through May. May 2022 is the last month any rent payment will be made.

Can I apply for an additional month since my 15 months is up at the end of the month?
You are eligible through May 2022 if you have not yet exceeded the 15-month allotment.

If I am in the process of being evicted; is it too late to get assistance?
No, it isn’t! Come to the Housing Stabilization Center at 415 Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh; Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ACTION-Housing and RentHelpPGH staff can help. Be sure to bring a copy of your lease, documents to show your income, and the eviction filing. If you aren’t available those days or times, please call or text RentHelpPGH at 412-534-6660 (English) or 412-530-5244 (Espanol).

 When I try to log in to my application it says it is locked?
Call the DHS Help Desk at 412-350-4357 X2 to reset your password.

According to my online application, I’ve been approved for utility assistance, and it has been paid, but my electric provider has not received any payment. When will the provider be notified that it is coming?
Once we approve your application, our partners at Dollar Energy contact the utility companies and ask what is owed for the months you asked to be paid for and pays up to the amount you requested. Response time varies per utility company. You can log back into your application and click on the last tab to see which utilities have been paid: https://acdhscrrp.alleghenycounty.us/CITIZEN/Security/Disclaimer.

How long does it take for the landlord to get paid and will they get paid every three months?
Payments are made monthly. On March 15th we can pay April and May rent. It takes a week to 10 days to process and then your landlord should receive the actual payment anytime from two to 10 days after.

Do you have to decide out of the 15 months whether you want payments to go to rent or utilities?
Rent and utilities can be paid for the same 15 months.

Regardless of where my application is in the process, is May the last month’s rent will be paid?
Yes, May 2022 is the last month rent payments will be made. However, if you’re application isn’t processed until June or July, May rent will still be paid if you’re eligible and funding remains available.

Can I request assistance for April now?
No, please log back into your application on March 15th to request April payments. We appreciate your patience as we anticipate about 10,000 households will make this request.

Is contacting Allegheny Link the next best option to try and find other rent and/or utility assistance?
Yes. Call 866-730-2368 or email AlleghenyLink@ AlleghenyCounty.us. Also:

I’ve been in the “landlord outreach” stage for over a month and it is a reapplication. Is there a reason for this delay other than understaffing and time?
It could be that you indicated your rent has changed during recertification or you moved, or you have a different landlord. If not, please send an email to ACTION-Housing at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org and include your T-number. We’ll look into it.

I had to send in update documents which I did in February. I still have not heard back. Is this due to the number of people applying?
Yes, due to high participation in ERAP it is taking a while to work through the backlog. We appreciate your continued patience. You can send an email to us at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org and include your T-number to ask for an update. You can also check to see if there are comments in your application. Log in here: https://acdhscrrp.alleghenycounty.us/CITIZEN/Security/Disclaimer.

I am eligible for 15 months. If a few months have been missed, am I able to go back to fix it and re-apply?
No, you can’t reapply. If there was an issue with one of the months, we can fix it. Email us at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org and include your T-number. We’ll look into it.

What about Section 8? Am I able to switch over to Section 8?
ERAP and Section 8 are two separate and distinct programs. If you are interested in applying for Section 8, contact the housing authorities at the numbers below. Having an ERAP application or being served in the program has no bearing on whether you will be eligible for Section 8.
Depending on where you live, contact:

If I submit for January, February, and March today for rent and utility assistance, will the system open again on March 15th for me to submit for April and May?
Yes, so please mark it down somewhere so you don’t forget! Beginning March 15th you can request April and May rent and utility payments. You can also still request February and March.

Will the neighborhood ERAP locations remain open until May 2022 to assist with application processing?
Yes, the drop-in centers will remain open through at least May 2022.

What if my application doesn’t get processed before March 31st?
We will continue to process all eligible applications until we run out of money.

As a landlord, is there a limit to late fees? $10 per day for 15 months does add up to something over $4,500. This is how the lease is written, however.
We pay reasonable late fees, which is $50 a month for under $1,000 per month rent or $100 a month for rent over $1,00 per month. If you’re a landlord, please consider being reasonable about this as we want to ensure the remaining funds can help as many people as possible.

When I log back into my application, I am unable to apply for March right now. I would like to do that, but I am still waiting for a decision about February.
If you can’t apply for March yet, this means your February payment is still pending. February must be paid before March. Please keep checking back as we’re working as quickly as we can to make payments.

If we must request additional months on the 15th of the previous month, does that mean that April 15th is the last time we can request for the month of May, or is it May 15th for the month of June?
You can request April and May, but not June. No rent payments will be made for any months beyond May 2022.

I know applications will only be accepted until March 31st, but for applicants who already applied, will payments still be made after May if there is a backlog in processing?
We will continue to process applications and make payments if funding is available.

If my first payment month was July 2021, can I apply for money to cover bills prior to July 2021 such as June 2020?
If you have not exhausted your 15-month allotment, you can go back. Although we cannot make any payments for rent or utilities before April 2020.

What if I still have not heard anything about a tenant that applied last year. Should I reapply for that tenant?
No, do not re-apply for them. This must mean their application is at Step 2 for some reason. Encourage your tenant to log back in to check and see if we need more information from them: https://acdhscrrp.alleghenycounty.us/CITIZEN/Security/Disclaimer or send ACTION-Housing an email at rentalassistance@actionhousing.org.

What if my client’s bills are in someone else’s name? This person is a roommate, and my client doesn’t have a lease, is it okay if I submit a written letter?
Fill out the short and simple oral lease form that is in the application.

My 15 months is up and looks like my recertification has been changed to June.  Does that mean even though my 15 months are up I can get to extra months?
No, you cannot get additional months.

If an application included a request for more than $50 per month in late fees, will it be automatically adjusted or will it be rejected altogether?
It won’t be rejected. You’ll be asked to adjust it. If you’re a landlord, putting reasonable late fees on the ledger will get you paid.

To clarify, you will continue processing utility applications until March and rent applications until May if funds are still available?
Yes

My landlord paid my sewage company directly because the funds I was awarded were applied to my water company instead. My landlord added the sewage payment to my rent ledger. Can I submit that as part of my rent for March?
Yes, please provide proof your landlord paid and include a copy of your lease to show that you are responsible for sewage payments as part of your rent.

If you pay a water bill that is billed to you but is stated in your lease, can that amount be added as well?  Does the landlord just need to include that on the request for the month?
We can pay this water bill. Please provide proof that you paid and include a copy of your lease to show that you are responsible for water payments as part of your rent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) changing? I still need help paying rent and utilities.
ERAP funds were meant to prevent evictions due to the hardships of the pandemic, but the program was not intended to be long-term. The federal government hasn’t allocated more money. We are making changes to the program so that we may provide resources to as many people as possible as the program winds down. Learn more about what changes to the program could mean for you.

What do I have to submit with my application?
You will have to show proof of income and financial impacts due to COVID-19. It will be helpful to gather these documents before you start the application:

  • Unemployment determination letter
  • Lease agreement
  • Utility bills
  • Proof of income, like W2 forms, award letters, or paystubs
  • Proof of financial hardship, loss of income, or increased expenses due to COVID-19

What if I do not have a lease?
That’s ok, there are other ways to show where you live like:

  • An oral lease agreement. We’ve included a simple form in the application for you and your landlord to sign.
  • A utility bill.
  • Something to show a rental payment like a bank statement or check stub.

How do I show that someone I live with is at risk of becoming homeless?
You can include a past utility bill or rent or eviction notice. If you have a lease and you can’t pay your rent as outlined in the lease, you can indicate that on your application as well. The YWCA is also contacting renters who apply and can give you a form that you can complete and upload.

What utilities can I get help paying?
Funding to help pay utilities will be available soon. If you need help paying any of the following utility bills, please complete that part of the application now and someone from Dollar Energy Fund will contact you:

  • Electricity
  • Gas or fuel oil
  • Sewage
  • Trash removal
  • Water

Do I have to be late on rent or utilities to get assistance?
No. You can apply to get money to make future payments if you are not able to afford them now.

Utilities are paid to my landlord through my lease – can I get assistance with that?
Your utilities can be paid as part of your rent if you are responsible for reimbursing your landlord for utilities and this is stated in your lease. Make sure you submit that portion of your lease with your application and any bills from your landlord if the utilities are not a flat fee.

Can I get help paying my mortgage?
No, unfortunately, financial assistance is for rent and utilities in rental properties only. If you cannot pay your mortgage, please call your lender, and let them know about your situation. Read more here: What to do if you can’t pay your mortgage.

Can I get rental assistance if I had past due rent before March 13, 2020?
No. March 13, 2020, was the date of the disaster declaration due to COVID-19, which is why we are using that date.

How can I show my income?
You can show your income in one of two ways:

  1. 2020 Yearly Income
    Show your yearly income from 2020 using documents like an IRS 1040 form or a W2. If you do this, you will NOT need to recertify your income if you get on-going emergency rental assistance (payments after your first payment is made).
  2. Current Income
    Verify your current income by providing two months of your most recent income. This could include two months of current pay stubs, an award letter from the Social Security Office, welfare office or a letter from your employer. If you verify your income this way, you WILL need to recertify your income every three months if you get on-going emergency rental assistance (payments after your first payment is made)

Regardless of the method you choose, you will need to show documentation of gross (pre-tax) income. Acceptable forms include, but are not limited to:

  • IRS Form 1040 for 2020 Tax Year
  • W-2 Form for 2020 Tax Year
  • Pay stubs.
  • Letter from your employer with pay rate and hours worked.
  • Award letter from Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, PA Department of Labor and Industry, PA Department of Human Services, or other government agencies that show recurring income from any public benefit program.
  • Award letters for pension or retirement benefits

How do I show that my income is below 80% of the Area Median Income?
You can provide documentation that shows you are getting a public benefit. Or, if your household income has already been verified to be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income in connection with another government assistance program, you can use that determination letter as long the determination was made on or after January 1, 2020.

Is there a limit to how much rent money I can get?
You can get up to 12 months’ rent per household. You will need to recertify your continued eligibility for the program every three months though. In certain circumstances, you may receive up to 15 months of assistance if you still qualify and funding is still available.

Can I get my first month’s rent and my security deposit for a new apartment through Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance?
No. But you can get help by contacting the Allegheny Link at 866-730-2368 or AlleghenyLink@ AlleghenyCounty.us. If you owe your first month’s rent within 15 days of applying, have a lease in place, and are unable to pay it, this program can potentially assist with the first month’s rent if you qualify.

Can I still apply if I live in public housing or Section 8 housing?
Yes. If emergency rental assistance funds are not applied to costs that will be paid by other funding (like Housing Choice Voucher or Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance), we can assist with your portion of the rent.

Where can I get rental assistance if I don’t live in Allegheny County? 
There are options if you live in another county. Some counties are using the PA COMPASS tool for their online application process. Find your county and contact information on this list.

If I am denied rental assistance, how can I appeal?
You can appeal the decision within 10 business days by sending an email to Appeals@actionhousing.org or calling 412-248-0021. You must give the following information or your appeal will be automatically denied:

  • Renter’s ERAP application number
  • Renter’s name
  • The reason you believe you are eligible for financial assistance.
  • Documentation to support the belief that financial assistance should not have been denied.

What if my phone number or other contact changes?
No problem. Log back into the application with the username and password you created and update it.

How do I log back into the application?
By using this link: https://acdhscrrp.alleghenycounty.us/CITIZEN

After I’ve selected the months I need rent money for and submitted my application, can I go back in and change those?
While you can’t change the months in the application after you submit it, someone will be contacting you to verify the information. Let them know then.

I’m a landlord with more than one tenant and I’m submitting multiple applications. Is there a way I can submit them all at once?
Unfortunately no. You will need to submit them individually.

Does providing a W2 eliminate the need to recertify at some stage. Could you please elaborate on certifications and how they work if approved?
2020 tax forms can expedite the recertification required every three months. Preferred documentation and will allow future payments to happen faster.

If there is a dispute between a tenant (renter) and landlord about what is owed, how is that handled?
We compare the amounts that the tenant and landlord claim is owed and then review the lease. We cannot mediate disputes, but we will do our best to pay what both parties agree is owed. If you need mediation assistance, contact Just Mediation Pittsburgh at https://www.justmediationpgh.org/ or 412-228-0730.

I do not have a Social Security number. Can I still apply?
Absolutely! A Social Security number is requested in the application, but not required.

Is citizenship required for this program?
No, citizenship status is not a factor.

I do not have pay stubs because I only get paid in cash. How can I show my salary and hours worked?
You can submit something like a written statement from a manager or supervisor. If it is impossible to acquire this kind of documentation, we will accept self-certification on income.

I am self-employed. Can I upload a Schedule C or K-1 from my taxes?
We only accept 1040s, 1099s or W2s as 2020 tax forms.

I applied for CARES rental assistance last year. Do I have to re-apply?
Yes. We are sorry for the inconvenience. But this time around you’ll create a username and password so that you can provide additional information and check the status of your application whenever you want to.

I have neighbors that speak Spanish. Where can they get help to apply?
Call ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021 and we will get a translator on the phone. The Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corp is also helping provide Spanish language assistance.

My partner and I live together but we are not married. Can we apply separately? How does that work?
Our online system marks will mark your applications as duplicate because you have used the same address. You and your partner are considered a household, so we will ask your landlord to verify what is owed.

Is there a limit on the amount of monthly rent that will be paid?
No. There is no limit.

Can I get Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance funding to pay for the internet?
No, but you can pay for gas, electricity, water, sewer, and other heating oil.

Can I fill out the application on my phone?
Yes. You can complete the application on your phone, a tablet or a computer.

What if I can’t wait for utility assistance funding?
Please contact Allegheny Link at 866-730-2368 or AlleghenyLink@ AlleghenyCounty.us. You can also call, text, email or live chat with someone at PA Southwest 2-1-1 anytime day or night.

What if I need to move? Do I apply with my address now?
Yes, you should apply now. We will need the lease for your new place so you should submit that if you do move.

I do not have access to the internet. How will I be contacted about my application?
We can contact you using the phone number you give us, or you can use the email account you set up to fill out your application. Stop in at a drop-in center to use a computer and free WiFi. You can always Call ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021. We’re here to help!

Do you assist with moving expenses?
No, but there are organizations that do. Please contact Allegheny Link at 866-730-2368 or AlleghenyLink@ AlleghenyCounty.us. You can also call, text, email or live chat with someone at PA Southwest 2-1-1 anytime day or night.

Can landlords check applications on their tenants’ (renters’) behalf?
No. There is a lot of personal information included in the application. Landlords can help tenants with applications, but only tenants can check the status of their applications.

I got a late rent notice. Where do I upload it in the application?
There is a question about the risk of homelessness in the application and you can upload it there. When in doubt, upload your documents somewhere in the application and someone from ACTION-Housing will help you figure it out.

Can I get funding to pay back rent for a house or apartment I do not live in anymore?
Yes. We will pay back rent for a home you no longer live in.

Does each tenant (renter) in a household have to apply?
No. Only one application needs to be submitted per household.

Can I get assistance with the rent I already paid to my landlord?
No, Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance funding cannot be used to reimburse you for rent you already paid. If you qualify, rent for future months will be paid.

I created a username and password, but I’m having an issue logging back in. What should I do?
On the login page, click “Need help signing in” and then “Forget password” to reset. If you continue to have issues, please call the Allegheny County DHS Service Desk at 412-350-4357 and choose option 2.

I uploaded bills for my gas, water, sewage and electricity. Is that all I have to do to get those bills paid?
No. Even if you uploaded bills into your application, you’ll need to type in information about each utility, like the name of the utility company and the account number. Uploading bills is not required but can help to expedite processing.

What steps must I take to be protected by the eviction moratorium? How long does it protect me from being evicted?
The federal moratorium is no longer in place. However, if you are a tenant being evicted for non-payment of rent, your hearing should be scheduled 15 days from the date that the landlord filed at the Magisterial District Court. Your hearing may turn into a status conference. The case may be continued to allow additional time for the ERAP application to be processed. If you have not applied for ERAP, the court may proceed to a hearing. If a judgment is entered for the landlord, you may be evicted, so please ensure that you apply for ERAP before going to your hearing at the Magisterial District Court. This procedure is permitted per Order of Court In Re: Fifth Judicial District Temporary Procedures Regarding Certain Residential Landlord Tenant Actions, No. AD-21-110-PJ, which is in effect through October 31, 2021.

I am behind in my rent and have submitted my application through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) portal. Can I be evicted? What proof of submission protects me?
You may be protected if you can demonstrate that you have applied for ERAP and good faith efforts are being made to obtain assistance. You must go to your hearing with your ERAP T number or a cell phone where you can access your application.

I have roommates, are we all protected by my ERAP application submission?
It depends on your lease and how it is arranged. If you are one household, then you should be protected. If you each have individual leases for separate rooms within the same apartment/building, then only those who fall under the judicial order will be protected.

There is a Landlord/Tenant action already filed in the Court. Can it proceed? What are my options?
Yes, but see above. The hearing will be scheduled within the time frames outlined above (as if it were filed today

I am a landlord and my tenant has not paid rent. Can I begin eviction proceedings?
Yes, but as the landlord, please be aware of the time frames of the judicial order outlined above. Please let your tenants know about ERAP and assist them in applying.