PA suspends evictions, foreclosures through July 10
Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently announced that Pennsylvania would suspend evictions and foreclosures through July 10, a move that would help renters, homeowners and small business owners affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
This order extended a previous ban on evictions that was set to expire.
“At a time when people need to stay home to protect their heath, they should not have to worry about losing their homes,” said Governor Wolf. “Ensuring that people can remain in their homes will help them to better protect their loved ones. It gives families the comfort of knowing they will have a place to live while all of us work together to fight COVID-19 and prepare to move Pennsylvania forward.”
If you or someone you know is still being threatened with eviction, there are free legal resources for you in the Philadelphia region.
Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP) offers free civil legal and are continuing to offer their legal services remotely during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. For civil legal assistance, call their Helpline at 1-877-429-5994 Mon.-Fri. from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or visit lasp.org/apply-here. Walk-in services are currently unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
If you or someone you know is unable to pay rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Philadelphia has launched the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help.
While no evictions can occur because of the Governor’s executive order, making sure that your rent is paid and up to date is one less thing that you need to worry about in these uncertain times.
To be eligible for rent assistance through the city’s program you must rent an apartment or house in Philadelphia, have a valid and current written lease signed by their landlord, and have lost income because of COVID-19.
Renters do not have to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to get help from this program.
For more information, visit PHLRentAssist.org. Applications will be accepted until Saturday, May 16 at 5 p.m. Renters who don’t have access to the internet or a smartphone will be able to get program and application information by calling 3-1-1.
School Relief Fund
It was announced this past Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has approved Pennsylvania’s application for $523.8 million in one-time federal emergency funds to help schools respond to COVID-19 impacts.
Local education agencies (LEAs) can now apply to PDE to receive their allocation of the funding and if accepted, should expect to start receiving funds within the next several weeks.
Funding through this program can be used for a wide range of purposes that include: food service, professional training, technology purchases, sanitization and cleaning supplies, summer and after-school programs, and mental health supports.
Schools, teachers and administrators have had to rapidly adapt to an education system that keeps individuals safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources will go towards continuing to make sure that students, parents, and teachers have the resources they need to continue receiving quality education and support services.
Funds must be used by September 2022. The PA Dept. of Education is urging school entities to prioritize investments for vulnerable students and families, including those living in the deepest poverty, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
Apply for Your Mail-In Ballot for the June 2nd Primary Election
The Pennsylvania primary election will be held on June 2nd, and I am encouraging everyone who wants to cast a ballot to do so by mail-in ballot.
Registered voters should apply online for a mail-in or absentee ballot at votespa.com. The deadline is 5 p.m., May 26.
In order to continue mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, all safety precautions should be followed to the best of people’s ability, and that includes staying home on election day and voting by mail.
However, if a mail-in ballot is not an option for you and you do decide to go to the polls, please know that increased precautions are being taken to keep both voters and poll workers safe.
The federal CARES Act and state appropriations from election security and technology is providing funding to ensure adequate safety protocols can be followed.
The PA Dept. of State is also purchasing infection-protection kits for all counties to provide to precincts so poll workers can maintain a safe voting environment at polling locations on June 2. These kits will include masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape and other sanitizing supplies and will be provided to the counties at no cost to them.
County election boards across Pennsylvania may also be temporarily consolidating polling places and relocating voting sites previously housed in places like senior centers, which are now closed because of the COVID-19 emergency.
Once counties have finalized their polling place plans, voters will be able to check their voting location through the Department of State’s polling place locator.
For more information on the new mail-in ballots and all things related to voting in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votespa.com.
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