The Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority will hold an in-person rental assistance application workshop on Friday and Saturday for Lancaster County renters at risk of eviction.
A federal moratorium on evictions is set to expire on July 31, and the Biden administration has said it will not be extended again.
Millions of dollars in rent and utility assistance is available through the authority, but executive director Justin Eby has said one of the biggest challenges has been getting proper documentation from applicants.
“We had a number of applicants who haven’t completed registration or uploaded all of the documents so we wanted to provide a space for folks to come and ask the questions and find out where they are in the status,” Eby said.
“We may not be able to determine eligibility at the event, but just providing a roadmap to assistance for them (is valuable).”
According to data on the authority’s website, 69% of the applications it has received have had none or only part of the documentation required by the federal government.
The application workshop is being held at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster city on Friday from noon to noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will help participants start an application, upload documents and review the status of an existing application. It will also advise applicants on the steps needed to complete the process.
Attendees should preregister by visiting lchra.com/rent/. As of Wednesday afternoon, 300 people had registered, Eby said.
Several Red Rose Transit Authority bus routes go from various parts of the county to downtown Lancaster. Route schedules can be found at redrosetransit.com.
According to the authority’s website, as of July 21, the authority had provided $3.8 million to more than 600 renters for past and current rent aid, utility costs and court-related costs since the rental assistance program began in April.
Data from the U.S. Treasury Department released Wednesday shows that more rental assistance applications have been approved nationwide each month since April.
“I think what we’re trying to do is just prepare at this point,” Eby said of the looming deadline on the eviction moratorium.
A total of the $34 million is available for rental assistance from the housing authority, and applicants who fell behind on rent or utilities as a result of losing work and income due to the coronavirus pandemic have until Sept. 30, 2022, to apply for funds through the program.
Applicants can potentially receive help with rent that is in arrears as far back as March 13, 2020.
Eby previously told LNP|LancasterOnline that the federal government is expected to evaluate the housing assistance program in September, but no decision has been made on what will happen to unspent funds after that date.