County gets $34.5M in rent/utility assistance funds

WEST CHESTER — Individuals and families in Chester County who are facing challenges in paying rent and utility bills brought on by the pandemic, can receive help through the Chester County Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Program.

Earlier this year, Chester County received $34.5 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the PA Department of Human Services, to help cover emergency rental and utility bills for individuals and families who have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

“With the clock ticking on the eviction moratorium, Friends Association was eager to work closely with the County and our partner agencies to get funds to our community members who need it most.   We owe it to all the kids in our community to keep their families intact and in their homes so they can focus on just being kids – what every kid should be doing right now.  The Chester County Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program not only provides relief to residents fearful of losing their home, but it also ensures our communities have the financial resources to thrive as we emerge from the pandemic this summer,” said Jennifer Lopez, Executive Director, Friends Association.

“The uncertainties and challenges brought on by the pandemic that have been faced by some of our county’s residents, can be overwhelming,” said Pat Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Department of Community Development.  “The emergency rent and utility funding lets those who qualify stay in their homes and cover the cost of basic living expenses, which is tremendous.  We’re pleased that over 1,000 households have reached out for assistance so far, but we can certainly assist more.”

More information can be found at and a virtual Chester County Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Program webinar was held in April that spells out who qualifies and how to apply, you can view that webinar by clicking the link:

The rent and utility grants are available to individuals and families in Chester County who are obligated to pay rent and who:

  1. Qualify for unemployment or have experienced financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  2. Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
  3. Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median – family of 1 = $52,950 and family of 4 = $75,600. (Amount may be subject to change.)

Those who are eligible can use the emergency rent and utility funding to pay for outstanding rent, electricity, gas, water and sewer; and energy costs such as fuel oil or propane, over a 15-month period.

To apply for funding, residents should call 211 and request rent and utility assistance.  Five housing organizations – Friends Association, the Housing Authority of Chester County, Human Services Inc., Open Hearth, Inc. and Oxford Neighborhood Services will work with the applicants, to process payments to landlords and utility providers.

“The Housing Authority of Chester County is honored to be one of the agencies selected to provide much needed help through the Chester County Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program. In 2020 we were selected to run a similar effort funded through the CARES Act and that work showed us the desperate need facing many, many renters in our county as a direct result of the pandemic,” added Dale Gravett, Executive Director of with the Chester County Housing Authority.  “My staff is working hard to forward this needed help as quickly as possible to our fellow citizens. We are so thankful to the US Treasury Department for recognizing this national crisis and providing the necessary funding support to help our residents.”

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