Rental Help for Struggling Families

Washington County Commissioners Announce Grants for Renters, Landlords Impacted by COVID-19

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Washington, PA (February 19, 2021) — The Washington County Board of Commissioners announced a new program today that will help renters who have experienced a reduction in their income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Commissioners will fund the utility and rent assistance program with federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development for the Emergency Solutions Grant-CV and the U.S. Department of Treasury for the Emergency Rental Assistance programs. 

The County has engaged Blueprints, a local community action agency specializing in federal programs to meet local community needs, to coordinate the program locally. 

“The sooner this funding hits the pocketbooks of Washington County residents struggling to pay rent and utilities, the better,” said County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan. “Blueprints has a proven track record of helping residents access funding programs like this, ensuring swift delivery of relief.”  

As part of the federal funding secured by County officials, Blueprints will distribute more than $7 million to landlords and utility companies on behalf of eligible renters who are behind on rent and utility bills, and/or future payments.

 

“Our mission as a Community Action Agency is to meet the ever-changing needs of our community,” said Blueprints’ CEO Darlene J. Bigler. “Rental and utility assistance programs of this magnitude are a first for Blueprints and the County of Washington, but so is the extreme need, brought on by the pandemic, related to job loss and reduction in hours for workers in our community.”

Program and income guidelines vary between programs. However, both programs base eligibility on whether the household’s decrease in income and inability to pay rent and/or utilities is directly tied to the pandemic.

The Emergency Solutions Grant-CV Program will serve renters with annual incomes at or below 50% of Area Median Income.  

2020 HUD median income (50%)

Family of One

Family of Two

Family of Three

Family of Four

Family of Five

Family of Six

Family of Seven

Washington County

$29,050

$33,200

$37,350

$41,500

$44,850

$48,150

$51,500

 

Emergency Rental Assistance Program will serve renters with annual incomes at or below 80% of Area Median Income, as follows:

2020 HUD median income (80%)

Family of One

Family of Two

Family of Three

Family of Four

Family of Five

Family of Six

Family of Seven

Washington County

$46,500

$53,150

$59,800

$66,400

$71,750

$77,050

$82,350

 

Blueprints is establishing an online application through its website to accept and process applications at www.myblueprints.org and plans to have the platform fully operational by March 1st. Once an application is submitted through the website, Blueprints staff will contact the applicant to review program specifics and requirements in order to determine eligibility for one of the programs. Through the on-line application, applicants will also be able to login and check the status of their application, in real time.

If a resident lacks the technology needed to apply for assistance online, they may contact Blueprints so that a staff member can help them complete the application over the telephone or in-person. In addition to the application, a great deal of corresponding documentation is required. Residents will be able to upload those documents through the online platform, mail or drop them off at Blueprints’ office as part of their application.

“While we anticipate having a waiting list for this program, we are encouraging residents to apply as soon as March 1st,” said Bigler. “Eviction and utility moratoriums may be extended, but we encourage residents to reach out to us now so that we may begin providing assistance as soon as possible.” 

Bigler continued, “We ask applicants to be patient as we expect large volumes of applications for this new program and application process. We will respond to each applicant, but it may not be immediate.” 

For information on the new rent and utility assistance programs or other Blueprints’ services and resources, visit www.myblueprints.org or contact Blueprints at 877-814-0788 ext. 409, 724-225-9550 ext. 409, or at info@myblueprints.org.

 

Additional Contact Information:

 

Darlene Bigler

Blueprints CEO

(724) 225-9550, ext. 402

dbigler@myblueprints.org

 

Jeff Fondelier

VP Operations

(724) 225-9550, Ext. 407

jfondelier@myblueprints.org

 

 

Jessica Hajek-Bates

Director

(724) 225-9550 ext. 403

jhajek@myblueprints.org





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