Supporting Renters Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
United Way Provides Access to Resources & Information
June 4, 2020 – Although the Pocono Mountains is showing significant improvement in its COVID-19 numbers, the need for assistance in the community will continue long past the pandemic. As individuals and families struggle to pay their bills, Pocono Mountains United Way is working to educate renters about their rights and options while also developing an eviction mediation program to help both tenants and landlords.
According to Governor Tom Wolf, no evictions or foreclosures can take place in Pennsylvania through July 10, 2020. It is important to note that this is not a rental forgiveness program and people will be responsible for paying back-rent once the governor’s executive order expires.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has ordered that essential utilities such as electric and natural gas cannot be shut off due to failure of payment, although it’s unclear when that grace period will expire. This does not include phone or cable bills.
“The housing crisis in the Pocono Mountains has existed long before COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, 2 out of every 5 households in Monroe County struggled to pay monthly bills,” said Michael Tukeva, Pocono Mountains United Way President/CEO. “We are concerned for families, especially now, who do not have a financial safety net to fall back on.”
Pocono Mountains United Way recommends the following options to those who are struggling with rent or utility payments:
- Don’t wait to ask for help and reach out to assistance providers right away.
- Even if you cannot pay the full amount, pay what you can. Make sure to call your creditors to explain your situation.
- Right now, you cannot be legally evicted. If you are receiving threats from your landlord, visit org for more information or call the 211 helpline.
Please note the full amounts of bills will eventually be owed and in the meantime, you may still receive notices from landlords and utility companies. Landlords can download a special toolkit here, which includes sample letters and modified rent and payment plan agreements.