Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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Centre County Opens Applications for Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Applications are now open for Centre County’s new Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide financial assistance to local residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Monday, county residents can apply for the program through COMPASS, the online tool for Pennsylvania health and human services programs. The Office of Adult Services is in the process of making paper applications and application assistance hubs available throughout Centre County

Centre County has been approved for up to $10.6 million in federal funds allocated through the commonwealth.

The program is available to assist renters with rent in arrears, future rent in three-month increments and utility assistance for up to 12 months. Assistance can be used for rent or utility arrears dating as far back as March 2020.

To be eligible, households must demonstrate they have been affected directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability and have a total gross income at or below 80% of the area median income.

“This grant, if we award most of it, if not all of it, will now be the largest single grant in Centre County history,” Commissioner Mark Higgins said last week. He added this grant is more flexible than the original rent relief program that went into effect last year through CARES funding and closed at the end of 2020.

“There are no caps on rent and there are no caps on the amount of the utilities,” he said.

Tenants or landlords and property management companies on behalf of tenants can apply. Applications will be accepted through the end of the year or until funds are exhausted.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the program are available on the COMPASS website. Additional information about the Centre County program is available at www.centrecountypa.gov/rentrelief