Released: September 9, 2021
Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead joined Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor, Councilwoman Elaine Paul Schaefer, and State Representatives Chris Quinn and Mike Zabel to urge residents at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs due to COVID-19 to apply for assistance available through the Delaware County Emergency Assistance Grant Program.
In March, Delaware County officially launched the Delaware County Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Program, also referred to as DELCO ERA. The program was created for people who are facing eviction so they can pay past due and upcoming rent and pay utility bills to help them stay safely in their homes.
The original federal program, ERA-1 provides over $37 million for Delaware County residents to assist with past due rent and outstanding utility bills. A supplemented program, ERA-2 provides an additional $29.5 million to spend in 2021 and 2022 for the same purposes.
Since the inception of the program, there have been over 9,600 applicants in Delaware County and over 3,600 households in Delaware County have been helped. Over $25 million in grants have already been funded, with the average grant being $6,900.
Most federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs have expired or are set to expire. There is still time to take advantage of this program. Council is urging residents who are at risk of eviction or utility shutoff due to COVID-19 to apply for assistance.
“This program reflects our core value that government can help residents in need with respect, kindness, and efficiency,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “Delaware County’s goal is to serve as many renters and their property owners and utility companies in a timely manner with the substantial funds made available by the U.S. Treasury and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The program can now provide rental and utility assistance for up to fifteen months of back rent and three months of future assistance for qualifying households. There is no cap on the amount of the monthly rent and/or utility assistance as in previous rental assistance programs.
There is one application per household.
Grant funds are paid directly to the landlord or property manager and/or the utility company.
Funds will be distributed on a “first-come, first qualified and approved” basis until program funds are depleted.
Applicants must provide evidence of disruption and/or loss due to the COVID pandemic
“Delaware County embraces the mission of DELCO ERA to provide COVID-19 recovery funds for a diverse range of renters and also to the rental housing sector and our local utilities,” said Delaware County Councilwoman Elaine Paul Schaefer. “Delaware County is doing its part, in partnership with the Commonwealth and U.S Treasury to bring relief and peace of mind to our community.”
When employment is at risk, housing security is at risk. The pandemic is a health crisis that has the direct ripple effect of an economic and affordable housing crisis. Council is urging residents who are eligible to apply as soon as possible and asking members of the community to share this information with residents who can benefit.
Residents who earn 80% or less of the area median income for household size are eligible. Applicants must provide evidence of disruption and/or loss due to the COVID pandemic.
Eligibility and instructions to apply can be found here: www.delco-era.com
Residents can email or call for assistance:
Call: (484) 729-4200
DELCO ERA offers in-person application intake sessions at the County’s Upper Darby Office, Chester City Hall, and through the Multicultural Community Family Services and the Delaware County Immigrant Coalition. For more details and the schedule, visit www.delco-era.com
Over 1,300 residents have been assisted in person with the application process. Program staff are eager to serve residents in need of assistance.
Over the summer the County made several enhancements to the DELCO ERA program to work more closely with the County’s court system to help tenants facing eviction, help tenants who have unresponsive or uncooperative landlords, and help tenants with re-housing options.
“Pennsylvanians fearing eviction do not have to go through this alone. The program provides an unprecedented investment in stability, well-being, and economic recovery for tenants, landlords, and utility providers as well as entire communities across the commonwealth,” said DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “Evictions and housing insecurity will affect our economic recovery, our workforce, our schools, and all parts of our society. ERAP makes evictions preventable, and they should be an absolute last resort. I urge people to take advantage of the help that is available to protect themselves and apply for ERAP now.”