Fiedler, Innamorato and Krajewski introduce legislation to keep Pennsylvanians in their homes
Philadelphia, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., announced today that, with colleagues Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, and Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., she is introducing legislation to allocate $500 million in federal funds to keep people across the state in their homes.
The legislation would invest $500 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Thus far, 179,915 applications have been received across the commonwealth, but the need has far exceeded the existing ERAP funding. Fiedler said that by distributing $500 million in ARP dollars to counties whose funds have been exhausted, these Pennsylvanians can get the help they need. This is a companion bill to legislation being introduced by Sen. Vincent Hughes and Sen. Nikil Saval, both D-Phil., and Sen. Art Haywood, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery.
In many counties, including Philadelphia, Delaware and Berks, more applications have been received than funding is available. The lawmakers said this funding shortfall has a very human cost: leaving people who rent unable to pay their bills and vulnerable to becoming homeless during the pandemic.
Fiedler said, “Funding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is a good investment in public health and in the people of Pennsylvania. Investing this money in rent assistance will help ensure people who pay rent, and their children, can stay in their homes.”
“This is essential,” Innamorato said. "In a time when COVID-19 numbers are surging and the temporary social safety net programs to help working families are unraveling, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is one of the few that remains. Coupled with the lift of the eviction moratorium, we could be heading for disaster."
Krajewski agreed that rental assistance programs have been a lifeline for Pennsylvanians struggling to pay rent. “Federal funding has allowed these programs to operate, but these funds are running out. Continued investment in these programs is a continued investment in the health and safety of Pennsylvanians," he said.
The lawmakers said they believe that no applicant who filed for help while the program was open should be turned away.