Homelessness Prevention

The Office of Homeless Services provides prevention services which include cash assistance with rent and mortgages, security deposits, or utility payments to households citywide to resolve a housing crisis and prevent homelessness. Income guidelines may apply.

The Emergency Assistance and Response Unit (EARU) provides homelessness prevention. EARU accepts walk-in participants Monday – Friday beginning at 8 am. Due to the volume of requests, EARU stops accepting walk-ins after the 30th participant has signed in.

EARU provides assistance to families and persons who are at risk of becoming homeless or facing a housing crisis1. The crises may include, but are not limited to:

  • Housing that has been declared unfit for human habitation or imminently dangerous; properties collapsed due to serious structural defects as declared by License and Inspections (L & I) and cease operations (Must have L & I referral).
  • Residences condemned by the City Health Department due to lead poisoning or other chemical contaminations (Must have Health Department referral).
  • Homes severely damaged or destroyed by fire or other disasters (Must have Red Cross referral).
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Persons and families not suitable for shelter due to physical, medical, mental illness disabilities (Must have appropriate documentation.)
  • Eviction/Notice to Vacate (Must have court eviction notice.)


Joshua Potts
Shelter Services Administrator
Emergency Assistance and Response Unit (EARU)
1430 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Hours of Operation
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:00 am – stops accepting walk-ins after the 30th participant has signed in.
Tuesday, Thursday
8:00 am – stops accepting walk-ins after the 30th participant has signed in.

Information Line



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

  1. Picture ID for all adult household members, (Must Be A Philadelphia Resident) birth certificates and social security cards for all household members.
  2. Proof of income3 dated within the Last 30 Days (last 3 or 4 pay stubs, letter from DPA, SSA, SS, SSD, letter of employment, child support, etc.).
  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-in4 cost, address and landlord’s contact information (Security Deposits Only).


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.
4  All clients are expected to pay a portion of the move-in cost or rental balance.