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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 26, 2020 02:48 PM
From: Representative Elizabeth Fiedler and Rep. Austin A. Davis, Rep. Morgan Cephas
To: All House members
Subject: Expanding PHFA’s Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program
As you are all acutely aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our commonwealth’s economy and placed a tremendous burden on many homeowners and renters across Pennsylvania. In May, the General Assembly passed Act 24, which allocated $175 million to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) to fund vital rental and mortgage assistance for our constituents. Unfortunately, the enacted legislation has engendered certain administrative and programmatic challenges that have hindered our constituent’s ability to access this valuable funding. Consequently, I have worked in conjunction with PHFA and stakeholders to develop suitable remedies to address these issues.
My legislation makes the following changes to the existing program:
  • Allocates an additional $100,000,000 to PHFA to recapitalize the Mortgage and Rental Assistance Program.
  • Bases maximum rental assistance on 130 percent of the HUD Fair Market Rent, rather than the current $750 for the full rent due.
  • Bases maximum mortgage assistance on the median monthly owner costs as provided for in the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent American Community Survey results.
  • Eliminates the requirement to verify employment status through the Department of Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.
  • Eliminates the requirement that households be 30 days delinquent on rent to be eligible for assistance.
  • Replaces requirement to waive rights to remaining rent or mortgage obligation upon acceptance of assistance with an opportunity to forgive.
  • Reserves a portion of the funding for small landlords, often called “mom -and- pop” landlords
  • Allows a small portion of the funds to be used for administrative costs.
Protecting homeowners and renters is more important now than ever. Please join me in co-sponsoring this critical legislation.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you!

Introduced as HB2837