Changes to Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance
ERAP funds were meant to prevent evictions due to the hardships of the pandemic. As the federal funds are coming to an end, the county and city are changing the program to provide resources for as many people as possible as the program winds down.
Why is the program 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.
What do these changes mean for me?
1. If your application has been processed and you are currently receiving rent or utility assistance through ERAP:a. You will be able to request up to three additional months of rent payments (March, April, and May); the March payment may be requested now; the April and May payments may be requested beginning on March 15, 2022. b. The cap on 15 months of assistance applies; if your request for additional months exceeds that maximum set by the program, no payment will be made.
2. If your application has been submitted but you haven’t received any rent or utility payments through ERAP:a. Your past rent or utility bills will be paid if you qualify for ERAP and funding remains available. b. Once approved, you can request three additional months of rent payments up until May 2022.
3. If you haven’t applied yet, apply now!a. New applications will still be accepted through March 31, 2022. b. Your past due rent and utility payments will be made if you qualify for ERAP and funding remains available. c. Once approved, you can request three additional months of rent payments starting from the date you submitted your application. Payments will be made if funding remains available.
What about utilities?
These changes also apply to past due utility bills so you can still request assistance for any past due bill that you have been unable to pay. For future utility bills, there are other options:
- The Low-Income Energy Home Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will make cash payments to your utility company. Read more about it and find out how to apply.
- The Low-Income Household Water Assistance (LIHWAP) to help pay overdue water bills. Find out more.
- The Dollar Energy fund gives grants to eligible families to pay utilities. How to apply.
What if I’m being evicted?
There are people who can help!
- If there is a threat of eviction, but no legal action, call or text RentHelpPGH at 412-534-6660 (English) or 412-530-5244 (Spanish).
- If there is a threat of eviction, and you’ve received notice of a pre-filing, contact Just Mediation Pittsburgh at 412-228-0730; please note that this program requires the participation of your landlord
- If there has been an eviction action filed, contact Neighborhood Legal Services at 412-255-6700.
- Consider stopping by the Housing Stabilization Center at 415 Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh; Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
I already asked for three additional months of rent payments. Can I request three more?
Yes, you can, as long as you haven’t gone over the 15 months max that has been allocated for the program, and you haven’t already requested March, April, and May 2022. Not sure if you’ve reached the 15-month maximum? Log into your account for more detail. Please note that the system will not allow you to apply for future months once you hit the 15-month maximum.
I just went into my application and recertified. Do I have to do that again if I’m requesting three additional months?
Yes. Even if you recently recertified, everyone who is requesting three additional months of rent will be asked to do it again. The process is simple and just asks that you review the information you had previously provided and confirm that the information remains correct.
Who is going to tell my landlord about changes to this program?
ACTION-Housing and partner organizations like the YWCA and Urban League will be communicating with landlords who have been participating in ERAP. If your landlord comes to you with questions, ACTION-Housing is happy to speak to them. Call 412-248-0021 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a list of FAQs for landlord available here.
I logged in to check on the status of my application, but I don’t understand what it means. Can someone help?
Yes, call ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021 or email email@example.com. Due to high participation in the program, response time for a call back is 7-10 days. You should expect a response to your email within 5 days. If you have the ability to do both, email provides a quicker response. Please be patient. If you’ve reached out, you will get a response. Emailing multiple times delays response to everyone. If you are expecting a call back, please make sure that your voicemail is set up and that the mailbox is not full. In many instances, case workers are unable to leave a voicemail when returning calls to applicants. Please be patient. If you’ve reached out, you will get a response. Calling multiple times delays response to everyone.
I was approved for ERAP but have not received a payment. What should I do?
Continue to check on the status of your application and provide any documentation that is being requested. Your landlord may need to provide information, so make sure that your entire application is complete. Remember, you can always check on the status of your application by logging in with the username and password you created when you applied.
How much money did the ERAP program get?
ERAP funding came in two phases. In the first phase, about $74 million was distributed. In the most recent phase, ERAP II, approximately $63 million will have been paid out. We are also asking the federal and state governments for additional funds from other communities that are not seeing the same need as Allegheny County.
How can I learn about how the money has been used?
ERAP funding has used to keep thousands of families in their homes during the pandemic. As of January 2022, nearly 30,000 individuals and families had applied for ERAP because they were behind on rent. For more data about applicants and payments.
I’ve sent several emails about my application and/or payments but haven’t received a response. How long should I expect to wait?
Due to high participation in the program, you should expect a response to your email within 5 days. Please be patient. If you’ve reached out, you will get a response. Emailing multiple times delays response to everyone.
I’ve left voicemail messages about my application and/or payments but haven’t received a response. How long should I expect to wait?
Due to high participation in the program, response time for a call back is 7-10 days. Please be patient. If you’ve reached out, you will get a response. Calling multiple times delays response to everyone.
Are the drop-in centers available to help me with questions about the program and these changes?
Yes, the drop-in centers will remain open until at least March 31, 2022, with the potential for an extension. Drop-in center hours and locations.
What should I do if I can’t get a response from anyone about my application and/or payments?
Please be patient. We’re working hard to help as many people as we can. Someone will return your call or e-mail soon.
How will I know if funding is no longer available?
We will make a public announcement when all funds are spent. We will also communicate with individual applicants via e-mail.