Homelessness Prevention

Participants should call the Emergency Rental Assistance Hotline at 215-686-7177 for information. Due to high call volume, OHS staff will return calls within 72 hours.

Types of Homelessness Prevention Assistance Available

  • Mediation, counseling, and problem solving to remain where you are. To schedule a landlord/tenant mediation, visit Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program.
  • Lease holders facing eviction should call the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Pilot at 267-443-2500 or visit phillytenant.org.
  • If you are facing imminent homelessness, you may be able to get one-time payment for move-in costs (security deposit, first and last month’s rent) or 12 months of rental assistance with housing case management. You are expected to make a commitment to increase your household income during that time.
  • Assistance is based on fund availability1.

Eligibility Criteria  

Families with children who have experienced homelessness and/or involvement with the child welfare system are the highest priority for financial assistance. Community based services to the Latinx community are also available at Congreso de Latinos Unidos.

To be eligible, you must have a household income at or below 30% of the area median income guidelines:

Step-by-Step Guide to Homelessness Prevention Services

  1. Call the Emergency Rental Assistance Hotline at 215-686-7177. Due to high call volume, you may wait up to 72 hours to receive a response.
  2. Provide relevant information and documentation in-person or online. If in person, you must wear a mask and pass a COVID screening to enter building. Metal detector screening is also required before entering our intake sites and access points. We require at least 6 feet of social distancing and limit the amount of people in the building at any time. Those who do not follow these protocols will be asked to leave.
  3. OHS determines eligibility.
  4. Schedule remote appointment with an OHS representative.
  5. OHS helps with housing search.
  6. Contingent upon landlord approval, move-in process begins.
  7. Property inspection completed prior to rental subsidy payment.
  8. Monthly appointments with an OHS case manager/housing stabilization specialist.
  9. Income recertification every 90 days, if applicable.

Documentation

Persons seeking to apply for assistance2 should bring the following documentation to EARU:

    1. Birth certificates and social security cards for all household member (copies of documents are acceptable).
    2. Proof of income3 for all household members (income documentation must be dated within last 30 days).
    3. Court Eviction/Notice To Vacate/Red Cross Referral/L&I Documentation/Medical or Mental Health Documentation (when applicable)
    4. Rental License from Landlord
    5. W-9 Form to be completed by Landlord (Evictions Only).
    6. Rental Suitability Certificate (Security Deposits Only)
    7. Lead Safe Certificate (Households with children six years old and younger)
    8. Unit must pass Office of Homeless Services inspection, for private market units (Security Deposits Only).
    9. Statement of current balance (within the Last 10 Days from the landlord/rental office)
    10. Copy of signed lease
    11. Letter of Approval/Inspection Request indicating move-in cost, address and landlord’s contact information (Security Deposits Only).

Inspections

All properties for relocations must be inspected. The following information must be provided to request an inspection for a particular property:

  1. Exact address of the unit (including zip code) with identifiers (2nd floor rear, basement)
  2. Full name of the landlord and contact person if different, and appropriate telephone numbers
  3. Landlord’s full address
  4. Name of person who will have the keys to the property (this is the person with whom the inspection will be scheduled and with whom the inspector will meet).
  5. Current rental license
  6. Rental Suitability Certificate

Housing Inspection Checklist

Properties should be in good condition and meet the following requirements to pass inspection (lists are not exhaustive):

Houses and Two Family Dwellings:

  • One working smoke detector on each floor including the basement. One working carbon monoxide detector in the hallway.
  • Walls, floors, and ceilings in good repair and clean.
  • No leaks in drain pipes or water line.
  • Windows that function properly with no broken glass.
  • Handrails for staircases with three or more steps.
  • Toilets, sinks, and tubs/showers that function properly.
  • Electric outlets and switches that have cover plates and are in good condition.
  • All utilities (water, gas, electric) turned on and operating properly.
  • Hot water tank in good condition with appropriate overflow pipe/extension valve.
  • Stove and refrigerator present in unit and functioning properly.
  • Property is clean inside and out.

Additional Requirements for Buildings with Three or More Units:

  • Automatic fire detection system in basement, hallways and common areas.
  • Electric smoke detectors in units.
  • Fire extinguisher (tagged) in hallways or in each unit.
  • Lighted emergency exit signs and fire towers as required.

1  All funds are issued on a case by case basis.
2  Funds will be issued based on full completion of the application process and availability of funding.
3  Documented income must cover all living expenses. Additional documentation may be required.