On July 14, 2021, Meg Snead, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), asked school officials for help in ensuring that Pennsylvania families experiencing economic hardship due to the pandemic are connected to services and supports that will allow them to meet basic needs – food, housing, healthcare.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 allocated more than $800 million to Pennsylvania to establish the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which can provide direct assistance for unpaid and upcoming rent and utility bills and other costs related to housing. Applications are currently being accepted, with the end of the federal eviction moratorium approaching at the end of July. Thus, Pennsylvanians need to know that ERAP is there to help and to begin the application process ASAP to avoid additional public health and economic crises that would come with a wave of evictions.
According to Ms. Snead, DHS is continuing to promote ERAP at the state level, but the success of this program hinges on the ability to coordinate with trusted service providers at the local level who can deliver this information directly to families. As school administrators and educators, she is requesting that all consider promoting ERAP in their buildings, newsletters, and social media.
To assist with this, DHS has developed a media kit, which includes:
- Newsletter text
- Social media posts and graphics
- Talking points
- Sample press releases
- Sample media pitch email
- Sample op-ed
These assets are available on the DHS website. This media kit was designed to help DHS and our partners continue to promote this program. Officials are urged to use any or all of these resources to help promote ERAP to their clients, constituents, and networks. The flyers, newsletter text, and social media posts were translated and are available in seven languages. The media kit includes messaging that targets tenants AND landlords who can apply on behalf of tenants and may be able to stabilize circumstances and avoid evictions with ERAP assistance. Anyone can apply for the program, even if they have not used DHS benefits before. This program is an opportunity to stabilize difficult circumstances that many are in after more than 17 months of a pandemic and historic economic insecurity. ERAP can be that stabilizing factor.
Inquiries should be directed to the DHS Press Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.