Lehigh Valley cities are helping some residents make rent over the coming months

Written by on May 1, 2020

Lehigh Valley cities are helping some residents make rent over the coming months

Lehigh Valley cities are gearing up to help some residents make rent over the coming months. Last night, Bethlehem city council discussed a funding program for tenants. And as WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports, Allentown residents can begin applying for rental assistance. 

As part of the federal CARES Act, the city will be able to give out $400,000 to pay rent. It’s part of more than $2 million dollars the city received for housing issues during the crisis. But only a portion was earmarked for rental assistance. 

Leonard Lightner is Allentown’s Community and Economic Development Director. He says to qualify, individuals must make less than half the area median income.

“For a single person it would be about roughly $27,400 is their income – but it’s scaled from a one person to a six or seven-person household,”said Lightner

People over the age of 62, the disabled, veterans and individuals who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 can apply. The program is also for people who have been evicted. Which according to the governor’s orders shouldn’t happen. But Lightner says his office is getting calls from people worried they’ll get evicted for not making rent.

“There should not be any evictions especially with the courts being closed – but if there are people that have been – and again not everyone follows the rules – and we can show that it’s related through the COVID-19 then we can step up and help them.” 

The rental assistance program will offer people three months rent — up to $3,000. Applicants will have to show some kind proof of emergency and verification of income, which could be a challenge to access for some without access to printers or computers.

“Let’s use what you have but let’s be creative with that — we’re hoping that some of the landlords will have access to scanners and printers — that maybe the landlord will be able to jump in and help.” 

Lightner says the program will be beneficial for landlords as well, since that rent money can help some make their mortgage payments

The application period begins tomorrow and runs through May 10. Lightner says his office has already received many calls about the program. Once the funds run out, renters may have to wait until the next round of rental assistance from the federal government. Fall applicants apply for the max amount; the program will service about 133 renters.

Find out more information at the Allentown government website.


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