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Philly Gets One More Batch Of Rental Assistance Funds, Still Well Short Of Need

A row of houses on Dickinson Street in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. has received another infusion of funds through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program from both the Treasury Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, PHDC spokesperson Jamila Davis confirmed to Bisnow after the news was originally reported by Axios. The infusion of $17.3M is projected to fulfill 2,300 households' worth of applications before funds run out in about two weeks.

Of the new funds, $8.3M came directly from Treasury while $9M came as a result of the commonwealth redistributing unspent assistance funds from other counties, both of which came from the first round of ERA reallocation announced in January, Davis confirmed. Only the first batch of original assistance, a total of nearly $24B from the bill passed by Congress in December 2020 labeled ERA1, was eligible to be reallocated. The $21B included in the American Rescue Plan Act, or ERA2, is not eligible to be reallocated until March 31 at the earliest.

The city does not expect to receive any more ERA money going forward, though it would gladly accept further funding — the total of $253M that Philadelphia received is just over half of the $485M it requested. PHDC closed its application portal due to lack of funding on Jan. 7, and though its informational dashboard contains a message saying that applications remain open, PHDC President and CEO David Thomas told Bisnow in January the agency would sort through all of the unresolved applications it had received before reopening the portal. 

PHDC has reviewed slightly more than 56,000 of the 81,000 ERA applications it received before it closed the portal, and has approved 52% of those reviewed. Of the 29,000 approved applications, less than 24,000 have received money, with 138 households receiving assistance in the week ending Feb. 25.

UPDATE, MARCH 4, 4:15 P.M. ET: This article has been updated to include the origin of the latest Emergency Rental Assistance distribution received by PHDC.