Davis’ legislation advocating for rental assistance rolled into crucial fiscal code bill

HARRISBURG, May 29 – In May, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, began his push to advocate for residents struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic by introducing legislation geared toward providing rental assistance to those in need. On Thursday, portions of his legislation were rolled into the final supplemental fiscal code bill.

Davis said he was encouraged and thankful to see portions of his bill included in H.B. 2510, which passed the House on Thursday, and noted he was able to advocate for the inclusion of his legislation through his role on the House Appropriations Committee.

“I’m grateful to see portions of my legislation included in this bill, most notably because it’s legislation that will benefit state residents which, by the way, is the reason we’re all here,” Davis said. “It’s my hope that members from both sides of the aisle can continue to work in bipartisan fashion, especially during times of crisis, so that we can do what is best for commonwealth residents.”

Davis said his legislation was wrapped into H.B. 2510 under the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Specifically, section 191-C dedicates a minimum of $150 million to rental assistance through the proposed COVID Relief Rent and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program. Homeowners or renters may be eligible for assistance if they became unemployed after March 1, 2020, or their annual household income was reduced by 30% or more. 

Grants for rental assistance would cover 100% of an individual's monthly rent, not to exceed $750 per month, for a maximum of six months. Grants for mortgage assistance would cover up to 100% of an individual’s monthly mortgage, not to exceed $1,000 per month, for a maximum of six months. All payments would be made no later than Nov. 30, 2020. In addition, all payments would be directly disbursed to landlords or mortgagees.  

The deadline to submit an application for this program would be Sept. 30, 2020.  

H.B. 2510 now heads to the governor.