The Mehaffie Message 6/4/21 - Emailed Newsletter
COVID-19 Rental Assistance Available

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is available for renters of residential properties who are at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs due to hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of tenants and receive assistance directly if the tenant is eligible.

Households may be eligible for up to 12 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and/or utility payments. The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not preclude eligibility, but the amount of ERAP assistance provided to a household is determined by program administrators at the county level.

Assistance can be provided to a tenant in a residential rental property for future rental payments and for unpaid rental or utility arrears that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020. Counties may choose to provide additional assistance to eligible households if funds remain available.

Residential tenants can apply for themselves, or a landlord can apply on behalf of a current tenant. Additionally, landlords do not have to agree to participate in the program for tenants to receive assistance.

To qualify for assistance, a household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property and meet ALL of the following criteria:
  •   One or more people within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  •   One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  •   The household has an income at or below 80% of area median income, which varies by county. Income limits by county are available and can be found here. Resources such as bank accounts and cars are not relevant for ERAP eligibility.

Learn more about the program and how to apply here.
PHEAA and PA529 Discuss How to Cover the Gap

Join financial aid experts Linda Pacewicz and Dan Wray of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and PA 529 expert Kelly Davis of the Pennsylvania Treasury for an informative webinar on paying for higher education.

This webinar emphasizes best practices, such as filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), seeking grants and scholarships first, and saving for college. Education loans are included in the discussion as well.

The webinar will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 10; Thursday, June 24; and Tuesday, June 29.

To register, please click here.
Produce Vouchers Available to PA Seniors, WIC Recipients

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is once again offering its Farmers Market Nutrition Program to low-income seniors and people receiving benefits through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program offers qualified seniors and families four $6 checks to redeem at qualified farmers’ markets or roadside stands. The checks may be used for fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown in, or can be grown in, PA. The checks may not be used to purchase processed foods, such as jams, honeys, cider or baked goods, or for citrus and other tropical fruits. Click here to find the nearest participating market.

Families receiving WIC are eligible for the program, as are senior citizens age 60 and older who meet income guidelines. For a single senior, income may not exceed $23,828. For a two-person household, income may not exceed $32,227.

Checks are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging at 717-780-6130. Additional information about the program is available here.
Grant to Support 1815 Parish House

I’m happy to announce the Hummelstown Area Historical Society has been awarded $21,000 to restore and seal the exterior limestone walls of the 1815 Parish House at the corner of Rosanna Street and North Alley. This grant comes from the Keystone Historic Preservation program under the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The 1815 Parish House is Hummelstown’s oldest building and houses over 14,000 artifacts, including a large Native American collection. The preservation project will help to keep it intact for future generations.

Last week, Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste participated in his final meeting as a commissioner. He has served the county for 26 years. Jeff has been a great friend and local government partner. I wish him well!

Sol and Steph Swartz of Royalton recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. I was pleased and honored to present the mayor and his lovely wife with a citation honoring their 50 years of marriage.