Philadelphia Rent Assistance: Expense Deadlines Approaching


The city of Philadelphia is racing against time to disperse state and federal money for its fourth phase of rental assistance ahead of deadlines.

Philadelphia must use 65% of nearly $ 57 million – or roughly $ 37 million – in federal funds from the state by the end of the month, or the money must be paid back.

As of Friday, the city had spent $ 34 million, three months after the program began. The funds only started reaching the applicants’ households a few weeks ago.

Greg Heller, senior vice president of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, said he’s confident the city will hit that benchmark as it is on track to disperse around six to seven million dollars a week.

“At the rate we’re going, we should have spent 65% of state money by the end of the week,” he said.

Homeowners and housing advocates agree that the final phase goes more smoothly than the previous three iterations, but there is still room for improvement.

“The program is just getting started in terms of issuing payments,” said Rachel Garland, lawyer in charge of the housing unit for Community Legal Services, a non-profit legal aid organization. “The process has been slow and Philadelphia has definitely moved faster than many other places in the country, but when you’re a tenant waiting for money, two months can seem like a long time.

In many cases, people cannot see how far they are in the process, leaving some in limbo.

“Lots of requests come in, but approvals are taking longer than expected, which puts landlords in a difficult position as they are not receiving funds and still have not received payment from tenants.” , Andre Del Valle, director of government affairs at the Pennsylvania Apartment Association, said.

Del Valle said he hoped Heller was right about the city’s ability to cut aid money. He said he didn’t want the city to lose resources for housing like the state did when it missed a spending deadline and money earmarked for housing assistance. rent went to the corrections department.

“We don’t want to leave money on the table because it’s going to hurt both landlords and tenants, which will lead to housing instability,” he said.

Philadelphia housing officials reviewed about a third of the more than 35,000 total applications for the final phase of relief and approved 16%.

The ideal time frame for the process is 45 days, according to a city spokesperson. This tends to take longer as only around 38% of the applications submitted are complete and it takes time to gather all the necessary information.

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