Pennsylvania

  • State Data Overview

    Across Pennsylvania, there is a shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

    K
    e
    y
    F
    a
    c
    t
    s
    443,205
    Or
    28%
    Renter households that are extremely low income
    $25,100
    Maximum income for 4-person extremely low income household (state level)
    -276,250
    Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
    $39,992
    Annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental home at HUD's Fair Market Rent.
    70%
    Percent of extremely low income renter households with severe cost burden
  • State Level Partners

    NLIHC Housing Advocacy Organizer

    Tori Bourret

    Tori Bourret

    202.662.1530 x244 | [email protected]

    State Partners

    Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

    309 Florence Avenue, #914N,

    Jenkintown, PA 19046

    P 215-576-7044

    F 215-887-8638

    www.housingalliancepa.org

    Phyllis Chamberlain, Executive Director

    [email protected]

    Levana Layendecker, Deputy Director

    [email protected]

    Become an NLIHC State Partner

    NLIHC’s affiliation with our state coalition partners is central to our advocacy efforts. Although our partners' involvement varies, they are all housing and homeless advocacy organizations engaged at the state and federal level. Many are traditional coalitions with a range of members; others are local organizations that serve more informally as NLIHC's point of contact.

    Inquire about becoming a state partner by contacting [email protected]

    Become a Member
  • Housing Trust Fund
    HTF Implementation Information

    NLIHC continues working with leaders in each state and the District of Columbia who will mobilize advocates in support of HTF allocation plans that benefit ELI renters to the greatest extent possible. Please contact the point person coordinating with NLIHC in your state (below) to find out about the public participation process and how you can be involved. Email Tori Bourret with any questions.

    NHTF logo
    Current Year HTF Allocation
    NLIHC Point Person for HTF Advocacy

    Phyllis Chamberlain

    Executive Director

    Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

    215-576-7044

    [email protected]

    State Designated Entity:

    Holly Glauser

    Director of Development

    Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency

    717-780-3994

    [email protected]


    State Entity Webpage

    Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency


    NHTF-specific page

    Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE)

  • Resources
    Resources

    Housing Profiles

    State Housing Profile

    State Housing Profile: Pennsylvania (PDF)

    Congressional District Housing Profile

    Congressional District Profile: Pennsylvania (PDF)

    Research and Data

    National Housing Preservation Database

    The National Housing Preservation Database is an address-level inventory of federally assisted rental housing in the United States.

    Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

    Out of Reach documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. In Pennsylvania and Nationwide

    The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes

    The Gap represents data on the affordable housing supply and housing cost burdens at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. In Pennsylvania and Nationwide

  • Take Action
    Tell Congress to Protect and Expand the National Housing Trust Fund
    Urge Congress to Pass a Budget with Strong Support for Affordable Housing Programs
    Tell Congress that Opportunity Zones Must Benefit Low Income People and Long-Term Residents
  • COVID-19 Resources
    COVID-19 Resources

    NLIHC has estimated a need for no less than $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and broke down the need and cost for each state (download Excel spreadsheet). 

    In response to COVID-19 and its economic fallout, many cities and states are creating or expanding rental assistance programs to support individuals and families impacted by the pandemic, and NLIHC is tracking in-depth information on these programs.  

    You can use the interactive map and searchable database to find state and local emergency rental assistance programs near you. You can also see the latest news on rental assistance programs through the state-by-state news tracker. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all rental assistance programs as we continue to update frequently. If you are aware of a program not included in our database, please contact [email protected]

    COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
     

    Across the country, homeless service providers are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to follow public health guidelines and help ensure people’s safety, some shelters are being forced to reduce services, restrict admittance, or close entirely. The loss of these critical resources puts people experiencing homelessness at even higher risk of illness. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of shelter closings.

    Below is a list of shelters that have had to majorly alter services or completely close:


    In Dauphin County, Christian Churches United closed its emergency winter shelter early and will close its women’s shelter on Friday.

    Shelters in the Lehigh Valley are closed to newcomers.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board urges Philadelphia’s courts and state lawmakers to take critical steps to prevent the impending eviction avalanche. The authors urge city officials to translate materials about the CDC moratorium to multiple languages, actively promote Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program, and provide rent relief. 

    Governor Tom Wolf is calling on the General Assembly to improve the CARES Rent Relief Program, provide an additional $100 million in CARES funding, enact an eviction and foreclosure moratorium until the end of the year, and other legislation to help renters and homeowners. 

    “The eviction moratorium is important, but it’s temporary,” says Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. “Rental assistance is a longer-term solution that actually addresses the root problem.” 

    Updated on September 15, 2020


    The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board writes that although the CDC’s eviction moratorium provides critical relief, state legislators and local courts cannot assume that the eviction crisis has been averted. The success of the moratorium will depend on outreach to educate tenants, landlords, and local landlord-tenants judges that enforce the order. Moreover, rental assistance is needed to prevent mass evictions instead of delaying the crisis. 

    Before the federal eviction moratorium was enacted, advocates warned that thousands of people would be at risk of eviction in Chester County when Pennsylvania’s eviction moratorium expired on August 31. The Housing Authority of Chester County is concerned about the operational rules and requirements of the state’s Rent Relief Program, which have resulted in sporadic, slow, and often inadequate assistance. 

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Pennsylvania residents are bracing for the statewide eviction moratorium to end August 31. About 1,500 evictions are typically scheduled each month in Philadelphia, but a lawyer at Community Legal Services anticipates “seeing an order of magnitude many times that next month.” 

    Updated on September 10, 2020.


    Up to 500,000 households across Pennsylvania could be evicted once the statewide moratorium ends September 1. Governor Tom Wolf said he does not have the power to extend the eviction moratorium, meaning the Republican-controlled legislature would have to extend it.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board urged Pennsylvania’s legislature to extend the eviction moratorium, set to expire August 31, and provide emergency rental assistance to support landlords and keep tenants stably housed.

    Updated on September 2, 2020.


    According to U.S. Census Bureau data, about 17% of Pennsylvania renters missed their payment in June, and a quarter had little or no confidence that they could pay rent in July. An op-ed in the Post-Gazette discusses the connection between the current COVID-19 housing crisis and systemic housing issues. The authors urge Congress to fund local housing work adequately and consistently, even after the immediate COVID-19 crisis has subsided.

    A letter to the editor in the Sentinel outlines the urgent need for $100 billion in rental assistance and a nationwide eviction moratorium. 

    Updated on August 19, 2020.


    The Philadelphia Inquirer investigates how, by outsourcing critical stages of the eviction process to a private entity with little transparency, Philadelphia’s eviction system leaves some tenants blindsided.

    Updated on August 4, 2020.


    An op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer discussed the urgent need for Congress to extend the eviction moratorium through at least December and offer assistance that meets the immense housing needs of all people across Pennsylvania.

    Updated on July 28, 2020.


    Pennsylvania Real-Time News highlights findings from NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and mentions advocates’ concerns that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic downturn has exacerbated the housing crisis.

    Updated on July 20, 2020.


    Governor Tom Wolf signed on July 9 a new executive order that extends the eviction and foreclosure moratorium until August 31, 2020. The moratorium protects households that are not protected under other federal eviction programs or families that are not receiving assistance from a new program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

    Governor Tom Wolf extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium on July 9 after facing growing pressure from advocates, residents, and state legislators. Pennsylvania is allocating $175 million of its federal coronavirus relief funds to provide rental and mortgage assistance. However, the rental assistance funds have not been distributed yet and the $750 per month maximum on payments will be insufficient to cover the full rental amount for many households.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer released an article detailing the eligibility requirements and application process for the state’s emergency mortgage and rent assistance program.

    Updated on July 13, 2020.


    Tenants, housing advocates, and local officials in Berks County are concerned about a potential surge in evictions as Pennsylvania’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on July 10. The pandemic has exacerbated Berks County’s high eviction rates, which averaged about 4,000 a year before COVID-19.

    The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) opened applications for the new rental and mortgage assistance program on June 29. The $150 million rent relief program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).

    Updated on July 7, 2020.


    Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation on May 29, allocating $175 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars for a COVID Relief Mortgage and Rental Assistance Program and an additional $10 million for Homeless Assistance Grants.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.


    Pennsylvania released new guidance for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, including a temporary suspension on evictions and foreclosures. The Department of Human Services is establishing a Sheltering Taskforce to provide services to people who are unable to self-isolate. Rental assistance is available through the Housing Assistance Program, and the Department of Community and Economic Development plans to issue multiple Emergency Solution Grants.

    The Community Action Agency of Delaware County will receive $300,000 to help people who have recently become homelessness find shelter in hotels for up to three months. These individuals may include patients released from medical facilities, people recently released from jail or prisons, survivors of domestic violence, or people living in homeless shelters who have tested positive for COVID-19.

    Montgomery County Commissioner Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr. announced that $30,000 is needed to provide shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness through mid-May. The county is seeking donations to meet this need.


    Kensington Avenue in Philadelphia has high rates of people experiencing homelessness as well as multiple other social needs. Community leaders are now struggling with how to provide support during the COVID-19 crisis, including searching for a location to house a 24-hour respite center, feeding sites and increased testing. 

    Philadelphia

    The Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development, and the Homeless approved five of the six bills included in the Emergency Housing Protection Act (EHPA). The EHPA will be up for a full vote in City Council by June 18.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.


    City officials moved approximately 50 individuals experiencing homelessness from the Philadelphia International Airport on May 26, offering to test any individuals who requested to be transported to a shelter.

    Protesters staged a funeral procession on May 31 outside the home of the director of the Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services to urge the city to take action to protect people living with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness from COVID-19. The protest was organized by the Philadelphia chapters of Disabled in Action/ADAPT and ACT UP. 


    Philadelphia established a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which aims to provide rental assistance to 3,000 families in the city. The program will be funded by $10 million of federal relief funding. 

    An op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer examines why the city should create a jails-to-housing pipeline. The authors argue that a housing-first approach to COVID-19 would ensure that everyone who wants and needs housing would have access to it.


    Families experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia are struggling to find shelter even as hotel rooms in the city’s quarantine sites remain vacant. City officials reported that roughly two-thirds of the 150 rooms in the city-leased Holiday Inn were vacant last week. However, the facility does not admit families and only individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results are eligible to stay there.

    Pittsburgh

    LGBTQ organizations in Pittsburgh have experienced a surge in need due to COVID-19 and the economic fallout. A board member of Proud Haven, an LGBTQ nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh, said that the number of LGBTQ youth needing emergency shelter has doubled during the pandemic.

    Updated on June 22, 2020.

    Article TitleLink

    Letter: Keeping people in their homes should be a priority

    The Sentinel

    Federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums are rapidly expiring and the CARES Act supplemental unemployment benefits will end soon; at that time, millions of low-income renters will be at risk of losing their homes. The NLIHC estimates at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed to keep low-income renters stably housed during and after the pandemic. This tracker links to news reports of the growing evictions crisis in various cities and states. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of eviction updates.


    According to U.S. Census Bureau data, about 17% of Pennsylvania renters missed their payment in June, and a quarter had little or no confidence that they could pay rent in July. An op-ed in the Post-Gazette discusses the connection between the current COVID-19 housing crisis and systemic housing issues. The authors urge Congress to fund local housing work adequately and consistently - even after the immediate COVID-19 crisis has subsided.

    Updated: August 28


    Governor's executive order prevents filing for eviction due to nonpayment of rent and overstayed lease until August 31. Executive order only applies to evictions in these two scenarios. 

    Updated: August 1


    In the third week of July, 1 in 5 adults in Pennsylvania reported they had missed their previous housing payment or had little confidence they would make their next one on time, according to a weekly survey conducted by the Census. In the same survey, 394,482 renters reported they had not paid their previous rental payment.

    Updated: July 29


    13,000 households applied for assistance, but the state’s $10M fund could only serve 4,000 households. According to a weekly survey by the Census, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the state either missed their last housing payment or have little/no confidence of being able to make next month’s housing payment.

    Philadelphia One in 5 renters in Philadelphia doubt they can make July’s rent. June 26

    Updated: July 16

    COVID-19 Resources Other

    National Media

    What to Know About Housing and Rent During the COVID-19 Emergency? https://tinyurl.com/y74ox85d

    Arbor Realty Trust launched an innovative $2 million rental assistance program to help thousands of tenants and families significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Arbor is contributing $1 million to the program and participating borrowers will match Arbor's advances to its tenants in need to help fill the rent gap during the hard-hit months of May and June. Together, the partnership program will provide $2 million in relief. https://tinyurl.com/y9r6x9vb