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After U.S. Supreme Court Ends Eviction Moratorium, Leaders Remind People Rental Assistance Money Is Still Available

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the eviction moratorium, that has opened the door for evictions to resume.

Pittsburgh United Executive Director Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy was disappointed to hear this ruling.

"I am worried for the families in Allegheny and throughout the commonwealth who are facing eviction," she said.

She said the court's decision leaves thousands at risk of losing their homes. It also has landlords in a tough spot because the pandemic has not been easy on them either.

"The last 18 months through COVID has been especially hard for the landlord community," Action Housing general counsel Kyle Webster said.

Action Housing owns several local properties. Webster said the majority of landlords in Allegheny County own five units or less.

"Not having that be paid for over a year is devastating. It really does put you in a tough position," Webster said over Zoom.

He and Rafanan Kennedy are now reminding people to apply for Emergency Rental Assistance Program money if they haven't already done so. Webster said only $30 million of the $80 million has been given out so far, but he's seen an increase in applications recently.

"We are encouraging people to apply. Want to make sure they know how to do that and know what their rights are so they can remain housed," Rafanan Kennedy said over Zoom.

In Allegheny County, if you're going through the process of applying for this money, you can't be evicted. That's according to a court order that runs through the end of October.

"We just want to make sure that people have the opportunity to get the assistance that is out there to stay in their homes and to be able to be protected during the pandemic," Rafanan Kennedy said.

Webster said some landlords even find themselves in a situation where they could be evicted because they too don't have enough to make ends meet. They're hoping people take advantage of the money soon.

"We are a landlord. We know that we need this money and know that other landlords need this money to work," Webster said.

To that end, some state senators, including local Democrat Jay Costa, introduced legislation proposing landlords first apply for the relief before evictions.

If you need help, here are some resources in the area:

Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) – for people experiencing job loss or loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis
Action-Housing: 412-248-0021 or click here.

Allegheny County Homelessness Assistance Programs – for people who are experiencing homelessness or about to experience homelessness
Allegheny Link: 866-730-2368

URA Housing Stabilization Programs – for Pittsburgh residents only
PA 211 Southwest
Text your ZIP Code to 898-211, dial 211 from your phone or by chatroom here.

If you need help figuring out which program is best for you: click here or call 412-534-6600 for English or 412-530-5244 for Español.


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