For Second Time, County Aids Renters and Landlords

NORRISTOWN PA – This time, Montgomery County’s Board of Commissioners believe, good things some in twos, not threes.

The county months ago opened a program that provided money to help renters and landlords alike who were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but it ended when funding did. Now, thanks to a combination of state and federal cash recently made available, that program has returned for a second time … and none too soon, commissioners noted, because renters and landlords also face new problems.

A federal Centers for Disease Control-imposed, nationwide moratorium on evictions is set to expire March 31 (2021; Wednesday). A moratorium on utility shutoffs for those with overdue gas, electric, and water payments, is due to end April 1 (Thursday). The converging dates heighten a need for cash among both parties.

The new Rent and Utility Relief Program, valued at more than $55 million, will be administered by the county’s Your Way Home housing crisis team. The county hopes the program will aid between 1,900 and 3,800 households.

It allows eligible households to receive up to 12 months of assistance for rent and utility bills dating back to March 13, 2020. Assistance can be for past due rent and utility payments, or future rent payments. Payments for security deposits, and first, last or both months of advance rent also are eligible. There is no financial limit on the amount of assistance a household can receive.

Applicants must meet the county’s specific lists of eligibility requirements and documentation, both found here.

To apply, residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211. Applications can be completed over the phone, in person, sent by e-mail, or a combination of those methods. Residents can also reach out to one of six partner organizations to learn more about the program and apply. They are ACLAMO, 610-970-2134; Family Services of Montgomery County, 610-630-2111 Ext. 235; Manna on Main Street, 215-855-5454; YWCA Tri-County Area; CADCOM; and the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, 484-393-5441.

Applicants will be evaluated based on priority, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis. Prioritized rental households are likely to be in areas with higher shares of households living in poverty, cost-burdened low-income renters, severely overcrowded households, or unemployed people.

Photo by Artur Verkhovetskiy via Deposit Photos, used under license