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Renters Behind On Rent During Pandemic May Have Access To Millions To Pay Off Debts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The moratorium on rental evictions comes to an end Saturday, and that could put thousands of Pennsylvanians at risk of losing their homes.

But as money editor Jon Delano reports, there are millions of federal dollars still unspent and available to help renters.

"There is enough money in the emergency rental and utility assistance space right now that eviction should be a last resort," said Meg Snead, the Pennsylvania acting secretary of the Department of Human Services.

Since March, Pennsylvania has allocated $847 million to help renters pay rent if they lost their ability to pay because of the pandemic – it's called the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

"All 67 counties have an ERAP program up and running. It's a little bit different depending on which county you live in," Snead said.

In Allegheny County, the program is administered by Action Housing, a non-profit organization that also owns rental units.

Kyle Webster, general counsel for Action Housing, predicts a number of landlords will seek to evict non-paying renters, but his agency has plenty of federal dollars to help eligible renters in need of help.

"We have stabilized roughly 2,900 households in Allegheny County, and we're seeing that increased daily," Webster said. "Today was actually the first day when we gave out $1 million in a single day."

While landlords can start the eviction process next week, Webster told KDKA's Jon Delano that it can take two to four months and sometimes longer to complete that process. If you don't pay rent into an escrow account, it can move faster.

As for applying for that emergency rental assistance, click here for more.

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