Housing Assistance for Low-Income in Pennsylvania

Are you in need of quality housing? There are various housing assistance programs in Pennsylvania to help low-income individuals and families obtain quality and affordable housing or apartments, or receive financial assistance to pay for rent for their current home. Affordable housing is available to help eligible persons achieve stability and self-sufficiency in both the public and private housing market. Read this article for more information.

Emergency Shelter Allowance (ESA)

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) administers this program. The program is committed to assist individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless obtain housing. The program provides financial assistance to eligible individuals to help them obtain permanent or temporary housing depending on the level of need. It also helps them prevent eviction and foreclosure. Who is eligible for this program? Eligibility for this program is determined by the level of income an individual or a family receives in a year. You don’t have to be in any public assistance program to receive benefits from ESA. However, your income must not exceed 80% of the poverty level. Depending on the household composition, homeless families receive up to $300 for permanent living quarters. Families that need to prevent eviction or foreclosure receive up to $400, depending on the size. For temporary shelter, families can receive up to $100. Temporary shelters are designed for families living in unsafe conditions or a domestic violence situation. For more information, please visit https://www.justharvest.org/get-help/welfare-client-resources/emergency-shelter-assistance/#:~:text=Emergency%20Shelter%20Allowance%20is%20a,Obtain%20permanent%20housing.

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. Inc.: Preventing Foreclosure

Failure to pay your mortgage or rent can lead to eviction or foreclosure. What can you do if you have trouble paying your mortgage? There some steps you can follow when you are at risk of facing foreclosure. Have you tried communicating with your bank or mortgage company? Well, it is important to let your mortgage company know of your financial situation before things start to get out of control. Tell the company when you expect to be financially stable. Make inquiries about what happens to you now that you can’t make full payment at the moment. If you have agreed to make some payments, ensure you can do that. Minimize your level of spending. Think about the ways you can improve your income for better results. Have you visited a financial counselor yet? Many non-profit credit counseling agencies can help you work out a proper budget for your family. What if you cannot afford to keep your home in the long term? Consider listing your house for sale with a real estate. Think about acquiring a cheaper house with the little money you’ve got. Are you feeling cheated by your lender? Please ensure you see a lawyer and do it as soon as possible. Find out more at https://www.palawhelp.org/resource/preventing-foreclosure#:~:text=Pennsylvania’s%20Homeowners%20Emergency%20Mortgage%20Assistance,are%20also%20eligible%20for%20HEMAP.

Pennsylvania’s Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP)

The HEMAP works to assist people in having financial hardships catch up on their mortgage payments. The program pays the bank or mortgage company the amount you owe to catch up on your mortgage. The program can also help you make further payments for your future mortgage. The amount of assistance, however, cannot exceed 24 months or 36 months when there is a high rate of unemployment. Note the HEMAP assistance comes in form of loans that you must pay at least $25 per month. This however depends on the level of income and your household expenses. Once you have finished paying off your mortgage or selling off your home, the balance will have to be paid.

HEMAP Application

You will get a notice of default when you fall behind 60 days or more of your mortgage payments. The notice will also let you know of the HEMAP program. Please call one of the counseling agencies as soon as you get this letter and ensure you make an appointment for application. Your application will be disapproved if you don’t receive the notice of default.  For more information, please visit https://www.palawhelp.org/resource/homeowners-emergency-mortgage-assistance-prog.

Foreclosure Prevention Grant Program

The Foreclosure Prevention Grant Program is committed to financially supporting homeowners who are 3 or more months behind on their mortgage payments. Such homeowners are at high risk of experiencing homelessness because of their situation. To be eligible for this program, you have to be financially in need and at risk of experiencing homelessness. You should be able to provide proof of homeownership, such as a deed or tax records. Visit https://www.phila.gov/programs/foreclosure-prevention-grant-program/ to earn more about the program.

Home4Good Homeless Initiative

The Home4Good Program was created by the Federal Home Loan Bank Pittsburgh and PHFA. The purpose of the program is to address the critical needs of the existing Continuums of Care across the Commonwealth. The initiative provides funds to local organizations that address the issue of homelessness intending to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania. Please visit https://www.phfa.org/mhp/serviceprovider/ for more information.

Pennsylvania American Legion – Housing for Homeless Veterans

Pennsylvania American Legion Housing for Homeless Veterans Corporation operates in Cypress street, Moon Township in Allegheny County. The program work to ensure veterans in Pennsylvania are obtained self-sufficiency and seek permanent quality housing in the State. Every participant is expected to take part in house cleaning, cooking, and maintaining the jointly-used facilities. Each participant is responsible for the cleanliness of their assigned area and doing their laundry. The goal is to improve the quality of life for veterans. Visit https://www.pa211.org/agency/1361/1434/ for more information.

Armstrong County Community Action Agency, Housing Assistance Program

The purpose of this program is to provide supportive services to low-income veterans residing in permanent housing or planning to transition. Services include case management, outreach, healthcare, daily living, transportation, legal, and childcare services to those eligible for assistance. The program also makes time-limited payments to landlords and utility companies, that is, if it will enable veterans to obtain sustainable permanent housing in the surrounding community. Visit https://www.pa211.org/agency/1787/1971 for more information.

Bridge of Hope Chester County – Neighboring

The Bridge of Hope Neighboring Volunteer Program works to assist single women with children and are at risk of becoming homeless. The program recruits members of the local churches, who volunteer to assist in identifying these women. The volunteers provide services such as encouraging and building relationships with families at risk of becoming homeless. They then provide support by looking for housing and household furnishings. The program volunteers also work with their personal or professional networks to connect homeless families with quality housing in the community. Find out more at https://www.pa211.org/get-help/family-resources/homelessness-prevention-programs/.

USDA Home Loans in Pennsylvania

The USDA Rural Housing Loan Program is for low-income home buyers, and it provides a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to those eligible for assistance. The house should be located in a USDA eligible area of Pennsylvania. With this payment assistance, you do not need down payment assistance for a mortgage because it offers 100% financing. How much loan can you qualify for? Well, use the USDA calculator available at https://www.pafirsttimehomebuyer.net/usda-loan-calculator.html to determine the amount and the mortgage payment you may receive once you qualify. The U.S. Department of Agriculture insures this loan. For more information, please visit https://www.pafirsttimehomebuyer.net/usda-loan.html#:~:text=The%20USDA%20loan%2C%20also%20known,financing%20plus%20the%20guarantee%20fee).

Pennsylvania’s Section 8 Housing Program

The Pennsylvania Section 8 Housing program is designed to provide financial assistance to low-income individuals and families through housing vouchers that act as subsidies for their monthly rent. Are you eligible for section 8 housing? Well, you don’t have to live in a government facility. The program promotes freedom of choice of a house in the private market and uses the housing vouchers to make payments. The Pennsylvania Section 8 Housing is managed at the local level by the Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), who processes the applications for the program. Almost 90 PHAs exist in the state and each PHA is charged with the responsibility of determining those qualified for the program. Eligibility for this program is largely based on the annual income and the size of the household. The limits, however, are updated annually by using the HUD guide. Find out more at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il15/FY2015_IL_pa.pdf. Visit https://eligibility.com/section-8/pennsylvania-pa-section-8-benefits to learn more about the program.

Pennsylvania Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps individuals and families with low-income pay their heating and cooling bills. The program assists in form of cash grants. Are you in immediate danger of being without heat at your home? You may qualify for crisis assistance, which is also provided in form of grants. The program makes a one-time payment directly to the utility/fuel company/provider on behalf of eligible families. Depending on the size and income of the household, grants range from $200-$1000. Note that you don’t have to repay the grant. How do you apply for Pennsylvania LIHEAP? Well, visit http://www.compass.state.pa.us/. You can also download a paper application, fill it out, and then submit it to your nearest County Assistance Office. Visit https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/CAO-Contact.aspx to access your local county assistance office. Once your application has been reviewed, you may receive a confirmation of qualification in form of a notice stating your eligibility and the amount of cash you will receive for assistance. You don’t have to be on a public assistance program to receive LIHEAP funds. Please visit https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/LIHEAP.aspx for more information.

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