HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Just hours before it expired, Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday extended the moratorium on evictions for failure to pay rent in Pennsylvania.
The order also applies to bank foreclosures on homes.
If you believe that housing is a human right or a humanitarian goal, nothing is worse than eviction from your home, especially during record unemployment, say housing rights advocates.
“If people don’t have the money to pay rent, they are not going to be able to move into another unit, and so they could potentially be street homeless in the middle of a public health crisis with COVID-19 surging and people having nowhere to shelter safely,” Megan Stanley, executive director of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
It’s a dire picture, so on Thursday Gov. Wolf extended to August 31 the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures set to expire on July 10.
That will allow renters and landlords time to apply for a new $150 million state rent relief program just started this week.
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“The landlord and tenant both need to be part of the application. If payment is approved, you can get up to six months, so March until September, in rent,” says Stanley.
The governor’s moratorium does not cancel the payments due. It just allows qualified residents to delay their payment.
The problem for landlords is that they still have their payments to make.
“I can say as a landlord I don’t want you to pay me if your child is not going to have the medication to survive, but I also have a business that requires payment in some way and some point,” says Kyle Webster, general counsel to Action Housing.
Action Housing is a non-profit Pittsburgh organization that provides affordable rental housing to over a thousand people, and supports the moratorium.
Now it could take weeks for this rent relief program to be full implemented.
To see if you are eligible for either rent or mortgage assistance, click here for the PA Housing Finance Agency.