News

December 21, 2021

ERAP HELPS FAMILIES STAY HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

(December 21, 2021) Stroudsburg, PA – Most people are looking forward to being at home this holiday season. But for many people, particularly those who have lost income or experienced higher living costs because of COVID-19, a safe, warm home is not sure thing. Whether behind on rent or utilities, the prospect of losing the security of their home is very real. Thankfully, Monroe County renters have access to a utility and rental assistance program known as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program or ERAP.

Tom Campbell is Pocono Mountains United Way’s director for ERAP in Monroe County. His role was created in response to the housing stability needs of residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom explained how ERAP helps families stay in their homes.

“Nearly every household in Monroe County has been impacted by COVID in some way, whether a direct loss of job, or indirectly like needing to give some money to a family member to buy a computer for their child for school last year,” said Campbell. “And that loss of income or added expense has put them behind the eight-ball for paying rent or utility expenses. ERAP can be used to help pay some housing bills and keep a roof over their heads while they work to become self-sufficient again.”

ERAP can help cover rent going as far back as April of 2020 for up to 15 months total. It can include past due, current, and in some situations, up to three months of future rent. To qualify, the total household income must be less than 80% of the county’s median income. (Requirements listed at web address below)

ERAP has already distributed more than $8.5 million in assistance in Monroe County with most payments made directly to local landlords and utility companies. It can include utility and rental arrears, deposits and prospective rent payments to ensure that qualifying families remain housed. “There is an affordable housing crisis in our community. ERAP is a program that was developed and implemented to ensure local families get the help they need. We encourage anyone that is struggling with making rent or utility payments to reach out and get help by applying today,” said Michael Tukeva, President and CEO of Pocono Mountains United Way.

ERAP is designed to help families stay in their existing rental housing; it is not a rental locating service. Either a tenant or landlord can apply for the program. “More than 2,500 Monroe residents have benefited from ERAP so far this year,” said Campbell. “Wait times for application processing have been rising, so patience is requested, but we still have funds to help people well into 2022.”

For more information and to apply online: MonroeERAP.com

CONTACT:
Emergency Rental Assistance Program- Home for the Holidays
Tom Campbell – ERAP Director
(570) 517-6677
Tom@PoconoUnitedWay.org

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