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Live In Allegheny County And Need Help Paying Rent? Millions In Pandemic Aid Still Available

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
This undated file photo shows a car at a protest calling for an COVID-related eviction moratorium to be extended

Millions of dollars in federal funds for pandemic-related rent and utility relief are still available in Allegheny County, officials said last week.

The county has paid out more than $4.4 million in aid but still has about $67 million in funds remaining, as of last week, according to officials from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

As of Friday, more than 7,700 applications had been received by the county; 954 had been approved with at least one payment made to those applicants.

A similar program struggled last year to get funds to needy tenants and landlords, largely due to state-imposed regulations and red tape.

Things are running more smoothly this time around, said Chuck Keenan, an administrator in the Bureau of Human Services with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

“I would say this year has gone much better, especially at the beginning. It look us awhile to get our legs last year,” he said.

County officials are also trying to do outreach to encourage people to apply for the assistance who might not be aware of it.

One delay thus far has been that many applications are submitted incomplete without all the needed income documents, Keenan said.

Allegheny County and a number of other more populous Pennsylvania counties are running their own rental assistance programs; in more rural counties, the program is being run by the state Department of Human Services. Some evictions are on hold until the end of June due to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Moratorium, though that doesn’t forgive any rent owed.

You could be eligible if you have at least one person in your household who qualifies for unemployment, has lost income, or suffered financially due to COVID-19; have at least one person in your home at risk of experiencing homelessness if they don’t get help; and meet certain income guidelines. Funds can be used for utility aid as well.

To apply for aid if you live in Allegheny County, or call ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021.

If you live outside of Allegheny County,

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.