URA partners with city and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to provide short-term rent/mortgage/utility financial assistance to city residents
March 24, 2020
The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh approved a new program for households at or below 80 percent Area Median Income (AMI) who have been affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Fund is designed to provide short-term assistance to workers who have experienced a reduction in hours and are facing a financial hardship to pay rent and utilities.
Beginning Monday, March 23, households in need of rental, mortgage payment, and/or utility assistance, specifically because their work hours were cut due to COVID-19, may call the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh at 412-227-4163 to be screened for assistance.
"This is obviously a really critical action today and sorely needed at this moment in time and I commend Jessica Smith Perry and the rest of the URA staff for acting quickly and coming up with this program on such short notice," URA Board Chair Sam Williamson said.
To qualify for the COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Fund, households must:
• Be employed, recently employed, or self-employed and experiencing a reduction in hours or a layoff due to the employer reducing/eliminating work hours or the loss of contract work as a public health precaution related to the COVID-19 virus; Documentation from the employer is required
• Experience a financial hardship and inability to pay rent, mortgage payment(s) or utilities
• Be located in the City of Pittsburgh
Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle expressed a desire to ensure that the program could help both tenants and homeowners and suggested that the URA reach out to banks and foundations for support.
The program will help tenants at or below 50 percent AMI to pay rent and utilities and homeowners at or below 80 percent to stay current on their mortgage payments.
In addition, for mortgage assistance, the homeowner must be living in the house and have his/her name on the deed. The household’s lenders must still be accepting payments and have not yet issued an Act 91 Notice. Final approval for support will include verification that all property taxes are current, and that the homes meet the URA home inspection standard.
Eligible expenses include: Rental and utility assistance, not to exceed $3,000 or mortgage payment assistance, including late fees, not to exceed $3,000.
"We’re hoping that this helps to unlock some other funding, as right now it's just seed money. We’ve been working the phones to see if we can somehow maximize this and leverage a bigger pool of capital," said URA Executive Director Greg Flisram.
For additional eligible activities and requirements, please visit the URA’s Housing Stabilization Program guidelines on the Housing Opportunity Fund programs page at https://www.ura.org/pages/housing-opportunity-fund-programs