If you’re struggling to cope during the COVID crisis, Pennsylvania is offering a support and referral helpline, which is operated 24/7 by skilled caseworkers who can provide emotional support during this difficult period. The number to call is 1-855-284-2494.
Learn more at media.pa.gov/.
A federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) takes effect today, September 4, extending vital protections to tens of millions of renters at risk of eviction for nonpayment of rent during the global pandemic.
To be protected, qualified renters facing eviction should immediately provide a signed declaration to their landlords. For more details about the moratorium and a sample declaration that renters can use, read NLIHC’s and NHLP’s Overview of National Eviction Moratorium and National Eviction Moratorium: FAQ for Renters.
Governor Wolf issued an executive order extending the rental eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Initially set to expire on July 10, the extension protects renters and homeowners from eviction proceedings until August 31, 2020. The moratorium covers families that are not protected under other federal eviction and foreclosure programs or families that don’t receive assistance through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. This action protects those who are one paycheck away from homelessness and further supports Pennsylvania’s recovery efforts by stabilizing the housing sector.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is offering financial assistance to renters and homeowners who have experienced income loss due to COVID.
The CARES Rent Relief Program (RRP) provides rent relief to renters who have experienced a 30% or more decrease in annual household income from reduced work and wages related to the pandemic. Annual income cannot exceed the area median income adjusted to number in household. For each household, the maximum assistance amount is $750 per month for no more than 6 months, not to exceed $4,500. Funds will be paid directly to landlord.
The CARES Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP) provides emergency relief to homeowners who have experienced a 30% or more decrease in annual household income due to COVID-19 and who are at least 30 days delinquent on monthly mortgage payments. Property must be occupied by the owner and located in Pennsylvania. Mortgages in a first or second lien are eligible. Annual income cannot exceed the area median income adjusted to number in household. Eligible homeowners may receive up to $1,000 per month for a period of 6 months. Payment will be made directly to the lender.
For more information on these assistance programs, visit phfa.org/pacares.
A message from Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger:
On March 27, a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, the largest aid package in history, was signed into law. The bill includes direct financial assistance for eligible low- to moderate-income Americans. For many families, these stimulus checks will be an essential lifeline to keep their loved ones fed and housed during the outbreak and the resulting economic turmoil.
But many families, like some residents of Inter-Faith, are at risk of not receiving a payment. Those likely to be overlooked include individuals earning less than $12,000 and those who did not file taxes or receive social security benefits—as well as those experiencing homelessness. These same families are facing job loss, inability to find employment and child care, and other unexpected costs.
Not all Americans need that extra cash to help them through this outbreak, though. We heard from one of our supporters this week. “I know how lucky I am,” she said. “My husband and I still have jobs.” She’s pledging to donate her stimulus check to Inter-Faith.
If your circumstances permit, please consider donating some or all of your stimulus check to Inter-Faith, too—to help families who need our support the most. All funds donated will be used for direct financial assistance to our resident families, our graduates, and to others in our local community who have been affected by this crisis.
We are so grateful to the VNA Foundation of Greater North Penn for awarding us a grant of $20,000. In response to the coronavirus crisis, the VNA accelerated their grant review process and are providing the funds almost 2 months ahead of schedule! The grant is also directed simply for the area of most need, so that we will have maximum flexibility to use the funds where they are needed most. Thank you VNA!
The Inter-Faith Food Cupboard at 1250 Easton Road in Roslyn will be changing our hours.
* This week, we begin to be closed on Fridays, starting Friday, April 3.
* Next week, we begin to be closed on Tuesdays, starting Tuesday, April 7th.
* We intend to phase in late afternoon hours, but are still working out the details. We will advise.
* We will be open M-W-Th-Sat from 11 am to 1 pm for food distribution, same hours each day.
* A recorded message on our phone line will be updated each morning with our hours for that day.
* Clients and donors are encouraged to call the line and hear the message before traveling to the cupboard.
Emergency shelter update: A huge THANK YOU to Grace Baptist Church of Blue Bell, especially to our amazing coordinators Don and Betty Helpa and their team. The month of March has seen snowstorms and power outages but nothing like the coronavirus. The heroic assistance of everyone at Grace Baptist has made it possible for us to safely house our three families during this crisis–and all have now exited shelter to safe harbors! One family is headed out of state to live with relatives; another will stay at Hope Forest temporarily. And longtime supporters M and T have opened their home to our third family for the next several months! To say “thank you” is not enough, but we will keep trying!
You’ve probably seen a lot of stories about people fending for themselves amid the COVID-19 crisis. People are racing for the last roll of toilet paper and other basic supplies in a panic because of the uncertainty of the situation. As the director of a shelter and food pantry, I can appreciate how stressful it is to effectively deal with a difficult and unanticipated circumstance.
What we don’t hear about as often on the news is the tremendous outpouring of compassion and kindness from many members of our community. Several of you have reached out to us to offer your time and support – above and beyond what you already do for us. You know that people in our community will be inequitably impacted by COVID-19, and you made the choice to think of others when it would be all too easy to only focus on your own needs.
We want to recognize our volunteers, donors, and others in our community who have stepped up to help others who may be impacted, directly or indirectly, by COVID-19. This important reminder of the power of community coming together will help us get through this difficult time.
We’ll be posting stories on Facebook and Instagram about the amazing people who have gone the extra mile to help Inter-Faith address our community’s needs using the hashtags #COVIDKindness and #MontCoHeroes. We invite you to join us in recognizing your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and others who are doing great things for others by using these hashtags on your social media posts.
Stay Wise and Sanitize!
COVID-19 is already hitting our families hard. Day cares and schools closing mean fewer hours at work (and possibly job losses to come) for our moms. If you’d like to help, here’s a list of items that would really help:
Gift cards of any amount (Giant, CVS, Weaver’s Way)
Laundry detergent pods
Kitchen sized garbage bags
All purpose cleaners
Donations can be dropped off at the office (31 S. Spring Garden St. in Ambler) during regular business hours, or you can use our Amazon wish list to send items directly to the office.
We’re so grateful to everyone who had donated already, including John Armstrong of Armstrong Supply Co., who dropped off an enormous box of toilet paper earlier. Thanks John!
Read Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger’s letter to the Ambler Gazette:
“With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the recent declaration that we are now entering a national State of Emergency that is hitting Montgomery County particularly hard, these are uncertain times for all of us. However, for the estimated 170,000 Pennsylvania working families who live in poverty, the very real possibility of losing their job or home compounds this uncertainty.”
Full text of letter at https://www.montgomerynews.com/amblergazette/letter-to-editor-covid–unequally-impacts-montco-residents/article_f0452152-684d-11ea-8777-83ac32e144a1.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share
Dear friends and supporters,
I wanted to send you an update regarding our operations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Inter-Faith Housing Alliance and our programs are considered essential services and we are here to serve vulnerable families in our community. However, we are modifying our activities to ensure our families, staff, and volunteers remain safe and healthy.
Our food cupboard in Roslyn is still open, but have modified our food distribution process. To respect recent state and county directives, we have changed our model from a choice cupboard to a pick-up cupboard. Families who come to the cupboard are given three to four bags of food. We have seen a dramatic increase in need and served 23 families (61 people) on Saturday alone.
We plan to continue to operate six days a week, as we expect to see increases in demand for the cupboard as school closures begin. We are in need of many items (more info and list here), including brown paper bags and lunch items for children who will be home from school over the next number of weeks.
Our shelter continue to support our 13 families. We have increased cleaning and social distancing measures to ensure our spaces stay healthy.
Our families have been struggling since the outbreak, especially with school closures. Many have lost access to child care and their ability to work. This outbreak will take many months for our families, who are already in vulnerable positions, to recover from.
If you are fortunate enough to continue to have a steady income during this time, we ask that you consider making a donation to support our families. A donation of any amount will help our families during this difficult time.
We are limiting the work of our volunteers, but we are looking for on-site volunteers who could offer child care services for our families. This would be a fantastic opportunity for any college students who are now home for the semester, and who have not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19. If you or anyone who know are able to help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-606-3426.
We have a few additional volunteering opportunities that respect the need for social distancing; please contact Sue Zomberg, our Community Resource Manager, at email@example.com or 215-606-3421 to learn more.
Thank you again for your ongoing support of Inter-Faith Housing Alliance and our families. We know this outbreak is hard on many, but we ask that you continue to support the most vulnerable in our community. Stay safe and healthy!!!
COVID-19 prep at Inter-Faith
Are you stocking up on hand soap and extra food for your family? Out of an abundance of caution, we have made a coronavirus plan for our families at Inter-Faith. We’d love to have your help to put it into action! As part of the plan, we would like to collect the following items:
Sponges & Clorox Wipes
Fever reducers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
Items can be dropped off at Hope Gardens during business hours, or you can use this Amazon Wish List to send items directly to us. If you have questions, please contact Marsha Eichelberger, our Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 606.3426. Thank you!