Cumberland County Housing Authority



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Instructions

The Cumberland County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is being established to provide rental and utility payments to landlords and utility companies in order to keep residents housed during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure rental housing stability.

The Program Guidelines are subject to additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Cumberland County Emergency Rental Assistance Program may be updated to reflect the guidance.

Program Guidelines

Eligible Assistance

Not less than 90 percent of the funds shall be used to provide financial assistance to eligible households (<80% AMI).

·         Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance. 

·         An additional 3 months of assistance may be provided if it is determined that extra months are critical to ensuring housing stability for the household.

·         The payment of existing housing-related arrears that could result in eviction of an eligible household is prioritized. 

·         Assistance will be provided to reduce an eligible household’s rental arrears before the household may receive assistance for future rent payments. 

·         Once a household’s arrears are reduced, assistance for future rent payments will be provided for up to three (3) months. 

o   Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three (3) months and receive such assistance if:

§  Eligibility is re-determined including review of the household’s income; and

§  The assistance does not exceed the overall 12-month period as referenced above.

Rent Assistance

·         Rent including rental arrears.

·         Eligible assistance with rent arrears as far back as March 13, 2020, (assuming no other financial assistance has been provided for the same months).

·         Maximum monthly rent payments may include rent, late fees or penalties due to nonpayment, pet fees, and utilities covered by the landlord.

·         Maximum monthly rent will be established at time of initial application submission and review of the tenant’s lease agreement (written or 3rd party verified documentation showing residency and past payments).

o   Written signed and current lease; or

o   3rd party documentation showing tenant residency, landlord ownership and payments of rent.

o   Without documentation and written attestation, maximum monthly rent will be capped at 100% of the Fair Market Rent


Utilities and Home Energy Costs Assistance

·         Utilities and home energy costs including arrears, with or without the need for rent assistance.

o   Utilities are defined as separately-stated electricity, gas, water and sewer, and trash removal costs.

o   Home energy costs are defined as fuel oil (propane gas, heating oil). 

·         Telecommunication services such as telephone and cable are not considered to be utilities.

o   Internet expenses will not be covered by Cumberland County’s program. 

Other Expenses Related to Housing

·         Other expenses related to housing incurred due, directly or indirectly, to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, as defined by the Secretary.

o   Eviction court fees and legal representation for non-payment of rent and utilities will not be covered by Cumberland County’s program.

o   Security deposits, first month’s rent to ensure eligible households’ stability due to permanent or temporary relocation due to COVID-19.

§  Eligible households will provide notice of non-renewal of current lease, or other evidence of notice to temporarily relocate due to COVID-19


Eligible Households

A household of one or more individuals who are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling and with respect to which the eligible grantee involved determines:

1: Meets and can provide documentation of one of the following:

·         Qualified for unemployment benefits; or

·         Experienced a reduction in household income; or

·         Incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID–19) outbreak.

·         Demonstrated risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include:

o   A past due utility; or

o   A past due rent notice; or

o   An eviction notice since March 13, 2020; or

o   Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions

2: Meets and can provide documentation of 80% area median income:

·         Household has a household income that is not more than 80 percent of the county area median income for the household.

Household Size -   80% AMI    -  50% AMI

                    1     -      $47,600     -      $29,750

                    2     -      $54,400     -      $34,000

                    3     -      $61,200     -      $38,250

                    4     -      $68,000     -      $42,500

                    5     -      $73,450     -      $45,900

                    6     -      $78,900     -      $49,300

                    7     -      $84,350     -      $52,700

                    8     -      $89,800     -      $56,100

 

·         Acceptable documentation of household income:

o   Annual income for Year 2020

§  HUD definition of annual income through W-2’s or wage statements, paystubs, or bank statements demonstrating regular income or attestation from employer.

§  2020 Form 1040 as filed with the IRS

o   Monthly income

§  Documentation of income provided at time of application will be extrapolated over a 12-month period, and redetermined every three month during the duration of assistance.

Ineligible Households

Other than households who do not meet the criteria listed in the above section, the following are examples of ineligible households:

·         Households requesting assistance for rent and utility costs and have already received federal, state, and/or local assistance for the same costs.

Payments

In general, funds will be paid directly to landlords, utility service providers, and home energy suppliers. 

If a landlord or utility provider does not provide required documentation to accept payments on behalf of eligible households, and upon a reasonable effort to contact the landlord or utility provider, funds shall be paid directly to the eligible household if: 

·         Landlords and utility providers have not responded after notification in writing by mail and 14 calendar days have passed; or

·         Landlords and utility providers have not responded after least three (3) attempts by phone, text or email will occur during a minimum 10-day period; or

·         Landlords and utility providers confirm in writing that they do not wish to participate.

Prioritization of Eligible Households and Assistance

 

Households (In Priority Order)

1.      Households at or below 50 percent of the area median income (AMI).

o   Households with a scheduled eviction hearing or “Notice to Quit” letter from the landlord.

o   Households with late rent and/or utility and home energy bills.

2.      Households with an individual or individuals who have been unemployed as of the date of the application for assistance for the 90-day period preceding such date.

o   Households with a scheduled eviction hearing or “Notice to Quit” letter from the landlord.

o   Households with late rent and/or utility and home energy bills.

Assistance (In Priority Order)

1.    Rental and utility arrears

2.    Rent and utilities for up to three months

3.    Other expenses related to housing

4.    Rent and utilities for up to three (3) additional months after twelve (12) months of assistance 

   After submitting your application you must submit, income documentation, Photo ID, Landlord Application, Rent Ledger and a Lease. 

    Your application will not be opened without submitting these documents. If documents are not received within 7 business your application will be automatically closed.

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