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Photo Credit: Samantha Madera/City of Philadelphia. 
Photo Credit: Samantha Madera/City of Philadelphia. 

Philly ends rental assistance as funds diminish

The city announces the closure to its PHL Rent Assist Program that helped renters pay to stay during the pandemic.

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The city of Philadelphia’s PHL Rent Assist pandemic emergency program closes Phase 4 on Friday, due to limited available funds.

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program, which began in May 2020, provided over $248 million to 38,987 homes since it launched. Landlords and tenants were able to pay their bills and avoid evictions.

At 5 p.m., the program will cease to accept new applications due to low funds that will be distributed to waitlist applicants, a city statement reported Thursday, Jan. 6.

After the program closes, only Landlords and tenants who have already applied will be able to access their accounts to upload supporting documentation to be reviewed.

Funds for the program’s duration were provided by the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund in 2020 and from Pennsylvania’s Rent Relief Program, in its early phases. Phase 4, which opened on April 1, 2021, received financial support from both the Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act. 

In order to track the program’s progress, the city created a dashboard of how the funds were distributed to applicants.

Demographics from the dashboard showed that those who sought the most aid were households of less than 30% Area Median Income (AMI) for Philadelphia, and ages 31 through 40 made up 32% of the need. 

People aged 21 through 30 were not too far behind, representing 28.8% of applicants. Women overall applied at a greater rate than men at 65.8% of all submissions.

The announcement comes not too long after the city decided to extend its Eviction Diversion Program through 2022.

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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