New COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance will soon be available for Lebanon County residents who are homeless or in danger of eviction.

The Jan. 18 press release, shared by Samuel Ortiz, Administrator of Lebanon County Community Action Partnership (CAP), states that new federal legislation will soon provide additional funding for emergency rental and utility assistance. The legislation also extends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-imposed eviction moratorium to Jan. 31, 2021, benefiting certain tenants who had been expecting Dec. 31, 2020 to be the expiration date for their protection against evictions resulting from failure to pay rent.

Although state deliberation will be required prior to releasing the funds, residents can start acting by submitting a preliminary application now at www.lebanonrenthelp.com.This initial step will allow applicants to access a variety of services and programs that are currently offered throughout the county. The application is available in both English and Spanish, and a representative will then reach out for further information. Applicants are also being encouraged to complete one copy of the CDC renter’s declaration per adult included on the rental agreement, and provide them to their landlord or property owner.

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Among the services currently available, CAP continues to offer Homeless Assistance Programs for individuals and families, with information available by phone at (717) 273-9328, or via e-mail at cap@lebcnty.org. In addition, Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM) offer different programs, such as emergency shelter, energy assistance, food-related programs, among others. LCCM can be reached at (717) 272-4400 or at info@lccm.us.

United Way also continues to offer their non-emergency information and assistance hotline by dialing 2-1-1, with the Crisis Intervention line at (717) 274-3415 for after-hours emergency shelter needs.

As for the expected funds, a division of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 legislation will provide Pennsylvania with an estimated $852 million in rental assistance to assist households struggling with rent and utility payment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Both tenants and landlords may apply; however, the latter will need a tenant co-signing if the landlord initiates the application.

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“Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if available. Qualifications will include unemployment, loss of income, risk of homelessness, and income at or below 80% of the county average,” states the press release. Income will have to be re-certified every three months, and this assistance cannot be used alongside other federal rental assistance programs.

This news fall within the ongoing efforts of the involved organizations to address homelessness and poverty, both prior and during the pandemic. CAP and LCCM had previously submitted on Nov. 2020 a joint grant application to cover the costs of a non-congregated shelter, which was not approved but will be re-submitted later this year.


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