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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2021 09:23 AM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton and Rep. Matthew D. Bradford, Rep. Jordan A. Harris
To: All House members
Subject: Nearly $1 billion in Relief for PA Renters and Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19
As we begin 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create unprecedented and detrimental impacts on our commonwealth. Job losses, school and childcare issues are just a few of these side effects that have placed a tremendous burden on many homeowners and renters across Pennsylvania. Over the summer, 17% of renters said they could not afford rent and 25% said they did not believe they could afford rent in the coming months. Pennsylvanians who are struggling to make rent or their mortgage payments due to the current crisis should not have to start the new year worried that they will lose their home – precisely where they have been urged to stay as we weather the remaining months of this pandemic.

In May 2020, $175 million was allocated by the General Assembly to provide vital rent and mortgage assistance for Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, the enacted legislation encountered many challenges that hindered residents’ ability to access this lifeline. In an attempt to correct these challenges, the House unanimously passed legislation in October 2020; unfortunately, the bill did not advance in the Senate before the end of the legislative session.

As the November 30, 2020 deadline passed, over $100 million was left unused by the thousands of struggling Pennsylvania families. Instead, the Republican-controlled legislature redistributed the remaining federal coronavirus relief to help offset General Fund costs incurred by the Department of Corrections.

The House Democratic Caucus proposes – in addition to the approximately $852 million recently allocated to Pennsylvania for Emergency Rental Assistance – to once again allocate these dollars to support homeowners and renters. Specifically, this consumer-focused program run by the Department of Human Services will administer a simplified program to ensure these dollars get to those who need them the most.

Protecting homeowners and renters is more important now than ever. Please join us in co-sponsoring this critical legislation to provide nearly $1 billion to keep people in their homes through this crisis.