Meanwhile, the House GOP spokesperson said the priority is ending "the stagnation" from Wolf's shutdown order and "the best form of economic recovery is a steady job, not more government programs."

HARRISBURG (AP) – Wolf again called on state lawmakers to pass an eviction moratorium as well as make changes to a statewide rent and mortgage relief program, citing a looming “eviction cliff” that threatens thousands of renters during the pandemic.

Wolf’s statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures lapsed at the end of August. He has said he doesn’t have the legal authority to extend it, though his administration’s rationale has raised questions about what exactly prevents him from doing so.

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Wolf acknowledged Tuesday that the Trump administration subsequently imposed a national moratorium on evictions meant to shield renters who are suffering financial hardship because of the pandemic, but said it doesn’t go far enough, nor do anything for landlords who are bearing a financial cost.

“I am continuing to ask the General Assembly of Pennsylvania to act, because so many people in our commonwealth are facing an eviction cliff,” said Wolf, citing a Census estimate that about 400,000 Pennsylvania households were unable to afford July rent.


Pennsylvania is using $175 million of its federal coronavirus relief money to provide rental assistance to eligible tenants and mortgage relief to homeowners, but Wolf said the program has not been working as intended. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which administers the program, said only 1,756 tenants were approved for $3.3 million in rent relief in August.

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Landlords have been reluctant to participate in the state program, Wolf said, because of a $750-per-month cap on payments. Wolf wants lawmakers to raise the cap and change the program’s cumbersome application process to encourage participation.

Majority Republicans in the House seemed unlikely to heed Wolf’s call.

The GOP’s priority is to “get our economy moving again and end the stagnation from Gov. Wolf’s unilateral and overbroad shutdown,” said Gottesman, the House GOP spokesperson. “The best form of economic recovery is a steady job, not more government programs.”

The House returns to session next week.

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