Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) encourages renters responsible for paying their PWSA water and wastewater bill to apply for financial relief through the Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance fund. This program is part of the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which began in March and is available right now to renters who are struggling to afford their rent and utility bills.
“No one should have to choose between paying for water services and other essential expenses,” stated Will Pickering, PWSA Chief Executive Officer. “This funding specifically helps renters who are experiencing financial hardships caused by COVID-19 or other circumstances. Any renter who is having a difficult time keeping current with their PWSA bill should apply soon while funding is available.”
A total of $37 million is available to provide families in Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh with necessary financial relief. The funding is available on a first-come first-serve basis and can be provided to a tenant for future rental and utility payments, and for unpaid rental or utility payments that have accrued since March 13, 2020.
How do I qualify for assistance?
To qualify, a household must pay rent and meet each of the following requirements.
- 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 percent of area median income. In Allegheny County, this equals $66,400 for a family of four. For more information about how median income limits apply to your household, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Applicants will need to provide the following information: head of household’s personal information; income information for all household members 18 and older; rental lease and amount owed; landlord’s name and contact information. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide utility expenses and utility provider information.
Apply quickly if you think you may qualify. The program ends when funding runs out.
How do I apply for utility assistance?
If you need help paying your PWSA water or wastewater bill, rent or any utility bill, you will need to go to covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us to complete an application and upload the required documents. Once you submit an application that requests help with utilities, someone from Dollar Energy Fund will contact you. Landlords may also apply on behalf of their tenants.
You do not have to be late on rent or utilities to get assistance. Utilities can be paid as part of rent if you are responsible for reimbursing your landlord for utilities and this is stated in your lease. Make sure to submit that portion of your lease with the application and any bills from your landlord if the utilities are not a flat fee.
What if I need help applying?
A guide and FAQs on applying for utility assistance can be found on Allegheny County’s COVID relief website. If you don’t have WiFi, a computer, or need help completing the application, contact ACTION-Housing by calling (412) 248-0021. Drop-in centers with free WiFi and computers are also available. For more information, view Frequently Asked Questions or contact Action Housing at (412) 248-0021 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“These grants will help our customers who are renters struggling to meet basic needs.” Julie Quigley, Director of Customer Service for PWSA stated. “If you need assistance with past or future water and wastewater payments, contact Action Housing to start the application process today.”
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is proud to be one of many organizations in Allegheny County participating in the Emergency Rental Relief Program. It is a collaborative effort including the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, City of Pittsburgh, ACTION-Housing, YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and others.
PWSA offers a variety of Customer Assistance Programs to help customers reduce their water and wastewater bill. For more information, please visit www.pgh2o.com/CAP.