Wednesday, February 2nd 2022
Dear County Executive Fitzgerald,
Every person in our community needs and deserves a safe place to call home. Regionally, barriers to finding safe, secure, affordable housing have been an ongoing concern. Now, as we face the end of COVID relief rental assistance programs, there is an impending crisis that will compound the fall-out from this pandemic.
As regional leaders in the field of affordable housing, Brandywine is committed to helping our tenants survive and thrive. Both our tenants and our staff have done everything in our power to keep our tenants housed throughout this crisis. Rental relief programs like ERAP kept thousands of families in their homes, as we faced surge after surge of an unending pandemic. As of December, more than 19,000 individuals and families in Allegheny County had applied for ERAP because they were behind on rent. 8,124 of those applications came from families with children.
Help is about to run out! The eviction moratorium has expired. Many residents have hit the cap on assistance payments from ERAP and CARES and funding for ERAP will soon be depleted.
The pandemic is not over and our residents and their families continue to struggle.
There are constant business closures due to COVID exposure, the challenges of child care during school closures are unending, and frigid winter weather compounds it all. The economic effects of the pandemic have already been devastating, leaving hardworking people without jobs and income, struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Without government assistance, countless local families will face imminent eviction. The families who will be hurt by the end of these programs are families with young children and elderly folks and those who are infirm — all will be displaced if we don’t continue to make these programs available.
We must do everything we can to keep tenants from being displaced. That means extending temporary rental assistance to keep tenants housed now and partnering to create programs that provide long term housing stability for at risk families.
It is a moral imperative that we all do everything in our power to prevent the pending disaster of mass evictions. Now is the time to ensure that everyone can access the resources that they need without fearing they’ll lose housing in the middle of a pandemic. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss these matters further.
John Katz, President | Brandywine Communities