ERAP Program (Emergency Rental Assistance Program)
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included funding for states to establish emergency rental assistance programs. Pennsylvania received approximately $569 million to administer assistance to renters, landlords, and utility providers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic insecurity.
On February 5, 2021, Governor Wolf signed S.B. 109 into law, which officially designated the Department of Human Services (DHS) as the agency overseeing administration of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) for the 49 counties that did not receive direct allocations.
ERAP is now taking applications. Pennsylvanians can apply online through COMPASS. Some counties are not using the COMPASS application. If your county is not using COMPASS, you will be automatically directed to your local ERAP agency contact.
Pennsylvanians can apply for themselves as tenants, or a landlord can apply on behalf of current tenant(s).
A household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property, and:
One or more people within the household have qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to, directly or indirectly, the COVID-19 pandemic (ERAP1). For ERAP2 funds, costs may also be incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic;
One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
The household has an income at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) as established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
ERAP requires a prioritization of assistance for households with:
Incomes less than 50 percent AMI; or
One or more individuals that have not been employed for the 90-day period preceding the date of application.
County ERAP offices should establish a preference system for priority populations.
Do I qualify even with section 8 or subsidized housing?
Yes. A tenant that lives in a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) may be eligible to receive ERAP assistance as long as ERAP funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance. This would include Section 8 housing and recipients of the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funds for rental assistance.
The ERAP assistance may only be applied to the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities.
What Are The Income/Resource limits?
Income limits vary by county. The household’s annual income must be equal to or less than 80 percent of the AMI for their county. You can find the income limits for your county by visiting the DHS ERAP website under Income Requirements.
HUD recently released the 2022 AMI limits and DHS issued Procedural Memo #008-22 providing guidance on when to use the different year’s AMI limits.
Resources (such as bank accounts and cars) are not evaluated for ERAP.