Assistance Available to Homeowners Hurt by COVID
Assistance to Perry County homeowners who may have been financially burdened by the coronavirus pandemic became available starting Feb. 1 using $350 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to the state and a posting on the county’s website.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced the launch of the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) on Jan. 6. The fund will help homeowners who meet eligibility requirements to pay their mortgages on properties they own and reside in. This is meant to prevent or ease delinquent payments, defaults, foreclosures, displacements, and utility disconnections, according to the announcements.
The available PAHAF assistance programs include mortgage reinstatement assistance, forward mortgage payment assistance, assistance related to housing property charges, and utility payment help to avoid displacement.
Eligible repairs include:
- Window replacement
- Lead-based mitigation
- Energy related improvements
Eligibility requirements for the assistance include:
- Reductions of income or increased living expenses due to COVID-19 pandemic, beginning on or before Jan. 21, 2020, with a hardship continuing after that date.
- Own and occupy their home in the state as a primary residence.
- Generally, income that is at or below 150 percent of the area’s median income.
The income eligibilities will have a graduated priority and are based on median household incomes for the metropolitan statistical area of the applicants, according to PAHAF. Prioritization of applicants begins with those making less money. That threshold is the greater of 100 percent of the median income for a household size or 100 percent of the median U.S. income ($79,900). The median is the exact middle value of a range of numbers.
In Perry County, which is part of the Harrisburg-Carlisle metro area, median household incomes are $79,900 for one to three people and range to $112,100 for an eight-person household.
Approved homeowners will not receive money through the programs. Instead, PAHAF will pay mortgage lenders, servicers and utility companies.
Additional descriptions of eligibility requirements, priority levels, as well as applications are available online at pahaf.org.
Perry County also still has recovery money available for rental assistance for people economically impacted by COVID-19, according to Commissioner Gary Eby. Information is on the county website, including income eligibility requirements based on household sizes. The money can help residents pay their rent to keep them in their homes.
The Perry County Literacy Council is processing rental assistance applications for the county. More information on the program can be found by calling 717-601-8027 or emailing Emma Groff at [email protected] or Louise Warner at [email protected], both with the literacy council. Its office is at 133 S. Fifth St., Newport.
Jim T. Ryan can be reached via email at [email protected]