With record numbers of Pennsylvanians out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday signed an executive order barring home foreclosures and evictions through Aug. 31.
This new order extends a previous order the governor had issued that would have expired Friday forbidding renters and homeowner to be removed from their homes. That action followed a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that closed court eviction proceedings until May.
“I am taking this action to help families know they will have a roof over their heads and a place to live while all of us fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” the governor said. “It takes one more burden off of people who are struggling and ensures that families can remain in their homes so they can protect their health and well-being.”
In almost all circumstances, Wolf said renters and homeowners are required to continue making monthly payments if they can.
Pennsylvanians struggling to make monthly payments should contact their landlord or mortgage provider immediately. The executive order does not apply to proceedings regarding property damage or illegal activity.
This latest executive order is one in a series of moves to help keep Pennsylvanians housed.
The Legislature has set aside $175 million of federal CARES Act funding for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to help people stay in their homes. It was decided $150 million would go toward rental relief and $25 million would be designated for mortgage relief.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency began accepting applications Monday.
In Berks County, like the rest of the state and country, facing record jobless numbers, as well as a slow, backlogged state unemployment department that has taken weeks or even months to provide benefits, local officials worried about an impending storm.
While it’s unclear just how many local renters have fallen behind, the concern was that the end of the moratorium would lead to an epidemic of evictions.