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Pennsylvania rental assistance.

A number of rental and housing assistance programs are available in Pennsylvania. Low income individuals can get help moving into affordable housing or apartments, receive funds for paying security deposits, and can also apply for assistance to pay the rent for their current home. Several of these Affordable Housing Programs in Pennsylvania are in place to help the less fortunate, and learn more below as well as application contact information.

Several non-profit agencies and organizations are working together to provide this housing assistance to the needy. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, some local non-profits, as well as the Department of Public Welfare offer many of the rental programs. They all partner together to prevent evictions or foreclosures, and also operate Homeless Assistance Programs for people that need a place to live.

The services have many goals. There are resources available that can help prevent evictions, try to avoid homelessness, and assistance is even offered for those people who are currently homeless. Families can find financial assistance, case management, and advice in moving toward self-sufficiency.

Pennsylvania realizes that affordable housing and the security that comes with it is a key component to an individual or family's path to self-sufficiency. So local non-profit or county service agencies will arrange services for people who, because of their household income, their health condition, and/or a disability, may be able to qualify for housing or rental assistance.

The state of Pennsylvania Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) helps families pay their rent and ensure that homelessness can be avoided. Services are offered for people who are in danger of being evicted from their home or apartment. Individuals who have already been evicted can use this program to get advice on solutions. For example, get information on low income housing units, assistance with moving costs and paying for security deposits, and other help. Some of the specific services available from HAP include the following.

Emergency rental assistance is offered for people who are in danger of being evicted from their home or apartment. Qualified individuals may be able to get help with their payments for mortgage, rent, security deposits, moving costs and utilities. Your county Homeless Assistance Program provider will coordinate services with you and your landlord.




Case managers will work hard with your landlord to maximize your chances for staying in your home or apartment and mediate a solution. If you just can’t afford to stay where you are living now, then a case manager will work with you to find a more affordable apartment in the region. In addition, the HAP program can also be used to move you out of shelter or transitional housing into an affordable apartment.

Case management and longer term self-sufficiency is key too. The services are designed to help families in identifying their needs, strengths and goals. This will also identify what may be needed for long term self-sufficiency. Social workers and case managers from various Pennsylvania agencies will work with you and understand the reasons why you became near homeless or why you are currently homeless.

The primary goal of Case Management is to provide you with the skills and tools that you need to prevent you from ever being in a homeless situation again. So this can be fairly wide ranging, and some of the many services offered may include job preparation, budgeting, acquiring life skills, home management, debt reduction, training, and referral to alcohol and drug services.

Transitional or Bridge Housing is a short term solution and is also part of the process. This Bridge will move you from being homeless into permanent housing somewhere in your region. This transitional housing is usually the next step up from an emergency shelter. This service will allow you to stay in an apartment or shared facility for up to 18 months for a small co-pay depending on your total household income. Participants of this program will continue to receive case management services and possibly cash assistance to assist you over the short term.

Emergency shelters are available across Pennsylvania for people who are currently homeless and have no permanent residence to move into. Some of the shelters focus on victims of domestic violence or unemployed. The Emergency Shelter component of the housing assistance programs will provide individuals with temporary shelter for a short period of time. During the time that someone is living in a shelter, they will be provided with case management services (see above) to assist with securing more permanent housing and assist with long term self-sufficiency.

If the solutions below can’t meet your needs, the state of Pennsylvania also offers a number of so called Innovative Supportive Housing Services. This component, which is above and beyond the Homeless Assistance Program, enables the non-profit service providers at the local level to design a supportive housing plan for people faced with eviction or the homeless and near homeless as well. It addresses needs at the local level.





Applying for rental assistance resources

Call the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare at 1-800-692-7462, or you can call your local community action agency or social service office. They can help you meet your housing needs. Clients can learn about all the rent assistance programs that are available to them.


By Jon McNamara

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