Lackawanna County Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Lackawanna County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LERAP) is approaching 100% expenditure of its $23,103,067 allocation of ERA funds. On Monday, September 19 at 4:00 pm the application window on this website will close and LERAP will no longer accept registrations for first-time or subsequent assistance. The application window may open again if additional funding becomes available.

Funds are limited, therefore submission of a full application does not guarantee funding.

For those who have already registered or submitted a full application, we will continue to process applications until all available funds are exhausted. Every application will be kept open until it is fully processed or until all funds are exhausted. We will inform you either way. There is no guarantee that your application will be funded. We acknowledge that this uncertainty is stressful, and we apologize for that.

We remain committed to the published prioritization of applications. No one will lose their current place in line, and no one will jump ahead in line. To see the status of your application, visit your Applicant Portal. Please do not call or email to ask about the status of your application, as this will not change your place in line.

LERAP represents an extraordinary partnership among Lackawanna County, tenants and their landlords and utility providers, Community Partners, the Eviction Court system, and Program Manager Capital Access.

The U.S. Treasury and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania established the program to assist low-income renters during the Covid emergency. The funds also helped the applicants’ landlords and utility companies, large and small, weather the crisis.

From April 2021 through February 2022, the County funded approximately 1,600 applications. Here is how LERAP has helped tenants, their landlords and the greater Lackawanna County Community between March 2022, when Capital Access began managing the program, and September 8, 2022:
  • 2,262 applications funded
  • Average grant is $4,823 for 9.4 months of rent and utility assistance
  • 227 grants have helped households avoid a court-ordered eviction
  • Average annual household income is $23,098
  • 1,769 of all grants (78.2%) benefitted households earning 50% or less of Area Median Income
  • 1,054 of all grants (46.5%) benefitted households earning 30% or less of Area Median Income
  • 1,353 of all grants helped households with children remain in their homes

We celebrate these accomplishments, even as LERAP is nearing the end of the available funding.
CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Phone 272-225-5577
Grant Stats

How To Apply

See the Application Process section below for an overview of the steps in the process.

Apply Online:

Registration is now closed

Application Process

1 REGISTRATION

Registration
REGISTRATION (1 of 2)
  • Click Tenant Registration link.
  • Provide your name, email, address, and preferred language.
REGISTRATION (2 of 2)
  • Go to the link provided in the Step 1 confirmation email.
  • Provide additional information to help expedite your registration submission.
  • Provide your landlord and utility information.

2 FULL APPLICATION

Full Application
  • Go to your personal Applicant Portal link to access the Full Application
  • Complete and submit your Full Application.

3 DOCUMENT UPLOADS

Document Uploads
Go to your Applicant Portal to upload verification documents such as Identification, Income sources, Lease, Utility Statement, etc.

4 VERIFICATION REVIEW

Verification Review
  • Respond to your Case Manager as soon as possible when you receive a call, text, or email to request clarification.
  • Continue to review the status of your application through your Applicant Portal.

5 GRANT GENERATION

Grant Generation
  • Look for your ERA grant approval notice by email.
  • Read your grant agreement for accuracy.
  • Sign the grant agreement online.

6 PAYMENT

Payment
Check your Applicant Portal to confirm your landlord and utility has been paid.

The Application Process has multiple parts:

  1. Registration. This is a two-step process. Step 1 is registering your information at the link above. You will then receive an email to complete Step 2. This step asks you to answer a few questions about your financial status to determine eligibility for the Program. You must complete both steps to proceed.
  2. Once you have completed both Step 1 and Step 2 in the registration process a case manager will review your information.
    • If you fail the Threshold Criteria, you will be notified by email with the reason.
    • If it is determined that you pass the Threshold Criteria, you will get an email from us inviting you to submit the Full Application.
  3. Once you are invited to apply, you will receive an email to submit your Full Application and all required documentation through your Portal.
    Verification documentation could include:
    • Photo Identification
    • Evidence of Income Loss
    • Evidence of Past Due rent and/or utilities
    • Lease
  4. When you have submitted your Full Application and complete set of verification documents, any grant for which you may be eligible will be calculated and paid quickly.

Threshold Criteria

  1. Rental property address is located in the County.
  2. Applicant household has suffered income loss and/or disruption during or due to Covid-19.
  3. Applicant household income is no more than 80% AMI for household size.
  4. Applicant household is at risk of homelessness or housing instability as documented with a past-due rent or utility notice, or an eviction notice.

Prioritization of Applications

Priority 1: If the application meets any of the following:
  • Household facing eviction in Lackawanna County court system, as evidenced by a court docket number;
  • Re-housing;
  • Household Income is 50% or less of Area Median Income (AMI);
  • Household with at least 1 person unemployed who has an active claim with a state Office of Unemployment for at least the 90 days prior to date of Registration with this Program.

Priority 2: Application with Household Income greater than 50% AMI, and less than or equal to 80% AMI, and that meets none of the conditions for Priority 1.

As of July 25, 2022, applications begin processing in this order:

  1. Eviction
  2. Re-housing
  3. 1st-time application, Priority 1
  4. 1st-time application, Priority 2
  5. Subsequent Application, Priority 1
  6. Subsequent Application, Priority 2

Landlords

If any of your tenants are behind on rent payments, encourage them to apply for the LERAP. Register yourself and/or your company as a landlord to make their application process as smooth as possible.

There is no cap on the amount of LERAP rental assistance. The amount of the grant is calculated based on up to 12 months of past due rent and utility for renters who earn 80% of Area Median Income or below and experience disruption and/or income loss due to the COVID pandemic. In addition, many applicants will qualify for 3 months future rent based on their household income. We need your assistance to verify the lease terms and the amount of past due rent since April, 2020.


What to Expect:

Step 1: Registration. This enables our information system to link you with every applicant in your rental property and/or portfolio and set your own Landlord Portal. The Landlord Portal is where you can upload verification documents and payments forms so that we may expedite a direct payment to you on behalf of your tenants.

Step 2: Email with link to Landlord Portal. Once you are registered in the system, you will receive an email with a unique link to your personal Landlord/Property Management portal.

Step 3: Email with Request to Upload Landlord Affidavit and IRS Form W-9 for Payment. For each approved Tenant that completes their application, you will receive an email request to upload through your Portal the following documentation based on a specific Tenant.

  • Landlord Affidavit where you can verify lease terms and provide an itemization of past due rent
  • IRS W-9 Form

Please make sure to complete each step to receive payments. If you have more than one Tenant, you may receive multiple requests for documentation; however, you will only need to register once.

FAQs

Applicant

  1. One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits OR experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due to the coronavirus pandemic; AND
  2. One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
  3. The household is a low-income family.
No, you do not have to be unemployed to qualify, but at least one person in your household must have experienced direct or indirect economic hardship during the pandemic.
Priority will be given to households with at least one person who has qualified for state unemployment benefits for at least the 90 days prior to the date of Registration in this program.
No, we encourage our applicants to seek employment to ensure their long-term housing stability. An increase in household income after awarding of a grant under LERAP will not affect your grant. It may, however, affect your ability to reapply for future assistance.
Providing U.S. citizenship documentation is not a program requirement.
If the address on your ID is no longer current, or if the ID does not contain an address, you must provide one of the following that does include your name and your current address:
  • A current Utility, Internet, Phone or other bill
  • A current Bank Statement
  • Current Vehicle Registration
You may submit a new registration after the last day of the last month of the current assistance. Please refer to the term listed in your Grant Agreement for the exact date. You will be in line with all other registrants. As long as funds remain available, when you reach the front of the line you will be invited to submit a full application.
Yes – applicants currently involved in eviction proceedings may apply for LERAP assistance. You are considered to be “in eviction” if you have a docket number from the Lackawanna County court system for an eviction case.
If you have already been evicted, LERAP will not pay your former landlord. You may be eligible for assistance at your new rental address.
LERAP will not pay your former landlord. The program is intended to help households stay in their current home. You may be eligible for assistance at your new rental address.
Yes, but applications are limited to one per household and the income of all members of the household must be documented and included in the application for funding to determine eligibility. If one or more roommates do not wish to participate, any rent award will be pro-rated accordingly.
Yes. An applicant currently residing in an affordable housing unit (or subsidized housing) may be eligible for assistance. Rental assistance is based on the applicant’s portion of the rent.
A household is every person living in the rental unit, including all children and adults, whether or not they are related.

Households with income up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) are eligible for ERA assistance.
The income of every person 18 years or older, who is not in high school full time, is included in household income. Social Security or Disability payments made to a household for a child are included as income for the parent or guardian.

S

HUD INCOME LIMITS 2022 for Lackawanna County, PA

Household Size

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Low Income (80% AMI)

$41,550

$47,450

$53,400

$59,300

$64,050

$68,800

$73,550

$78,300

Very Low Income (50% AMI)*

$25,950

$29,650

$33,350

$37,050

$40,050

$43,000

$45,950

$48,950

Following U.S. Treasury guidance, if an applicant has not yet uploaded income documentation, your Case Manager Managers attempts to determine if your household is income-eligible based on the census tract in which the household lives. If census data is not available, the Case Manager requests that the applicant submit income verification documents so we may calculate income eligibility for the program. These documents include:

  • A 2020 IRS 1040 tax return is the most efficient document for income eligibility; (use of 2021 tax returns is not permitted by U.S. Treasury);
OR
  • Eligibility determination notice for one of the following Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) programs with a determination date of January 01, 2020 or later:
  1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
  2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),
  3. Medicaid or Medical Assistance (MA) or
  4. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
OR
  • Documentation for all household income for the past 30 days, including pay stubs, benefit statements, unemployment statements, alimony, etc.

We welcome and encourage property managers to help applicants obtain and upload income and related verification documents.

Yes – An applicant's bank account and cash on hand are considered and factored into our income calculation. It is extremely rare that such assets are large enough to disqualify an applicant.
Yes, we may be able to offer up to three (3) months of assistance for future rent and utilities, subject to program guidelines.
Yes, Electric, Gas, Heating Oil, Propane, Water/Sewer, and Trash that is not included in your rent is eligible for assistance if you meet the eligibility criteria. You may receive assistance with up to three utilities from the following list. The account address must match your address.
  • PPL (PPL Electric Utilities)
  • PAW (Pennsylvania American Water)
  • UGI Utilities
  • Blakely Electric
  • Olyphant Electric

You may also consider applying to the LIHEAP Program for your utility needs.

Cable, Internet, cell phone and other telecommunications are not eligible for assistance from this Program.

For assistance with the cost of your Internet service, the Federal Communications Commission's “Affordable Connectivity Program” may be an option - https://www.fcc.gov/acp

Utilities that are included in rent are considered part of your rent.

There is not dollar limit on the size of the grant award. A maximum of eighteen (18) total months of assistance may be provided, including up to 3 months of future rent and utilities and funding already received from LERAP, subject to program guidelines.

Past-due rent and utilities may go as far back as April 1, 2020.

It does not matter if a month of LERAP assistance is for rent only, utility only, or rent and utility -- it counts as one month toward the total assistance limit.

If your household is temporarily homeless, without a permanent residential address, or are in a challenging situation with your current landlord where it is not likely you will be able to remain in your current rental unit, you may be eligible for Re-Housing assistance. To receive Re-Housing assistance, you must have a lease that A) has a term of not less than four months, B) commences no earlier than the date of your LERAP application, and C) commences no later than 60 days after the date of your application.

Eligible assistance includes:
  • Security deposit OR last month rent, not to exceed one month rent
  • Pro-rated rent for the move-in month
  • Three months future rent
  • Utility deposit if required by the utility to establish an account
No. Rent that has already been paid is not eligible for LERAP assistance. You may be eligible for assistance with rent still due, and future rent.
Mortgage assistance is not eligible under this program.
No. Please visit: https://www.fcc.gov/acp for information about the “Affordable Connectivity Program” administered by the Federal Communications Commission.

There is no dollar limit on the size of the grant award. A maximum of eighteen (18) total months of assistance may be provided, including up to 3 months of future rent and utilities and funding already received from LERAP, subject to program guidelines.

Even though there is no specific cap on the amount of rental assistance, our staff is directed to do anti-fraud, waste and abuse analysis which includes:

  • Require submission of a signed and current lease that is compared to a Landlord Affidavit for consistency.
  • Rental Housing to Income ratio affordability analysis. If the rent far exceeds what a low-income tenant could reasonably afford, we reserve the option to conduct a deeper investigation into affordability and legitimacy of the rent charged.
  • Reviewing public ownership records.
  • Requesting additional documentation from the applicant and/or landlord.

Once we get all required documents from the applicant and landlord, and determine the applicant is eligible for an award, checks are emailed to the landlord and utilities.
Please submit your registration online at https://lackawanna-erap.com. There is a two-step process so please make sure you complete both step one and step two.
Registration is now closed
Please schedule an in-person meeting by going to lackawanna-erap.com and clicking on a “Schedule An Appointment” button, or call 272-225-5577.
We have language translation services available.
Everyone who lives in the home or apartment, whether they are related or not, must be included in the application, and all other people listed on the lease.
If you have Gmail, it is likely you will find the email in your Promotions folder in Gmail. You should also check your Spam or Trash folders.

If you still cannot locate the email, you may also call 272-225-5577 to do an Assisted Intake over the phone.

An email will be automatically sent to the email address you used for registration. If you have not received an email, please check your spam filter. If you are still unable to locate the email, please register again at https://lackawanna-erap.com and double check your email address is entered correctly.
  • If you registered using an email address of a family member or friend and you want to change it, you must re-register.
  • If you registered using the wrong address, please inform your Case Manager.
The registration is two parts, please still go ahead and complete step 1 and verify your email address. As you complete step 2, you will be asked to provide your landlord email. If you do not have one, there is a button that allows you to submit a request for assistance here. Please complete the request, and an agent will research your landlord to find an email address. If they are successful, you will be informed of the landlord’s email.
An email address is a requirement of this program. If they are unable to create one on their own we are happy to help by scheduling an in-person appointment. Please have them call 272-225-5577.
Yes. Applicants (and landlords) are assigned to a Case Manager to work with through the application process.

Your patience is requested as we have received a significant number of applications. Our Case Managers are working diligently to assist all Registered applicants. As soon as your Registration passes Threshold Review, you will receive an email inviting you to submit your Full Application and your verification documents, and a link to get started.

Once you submit your Full Application your Case Manager will reach out to you to ask if you have questions or need assistance with uploading your verification documents.

When we invite you to submit your Full Application, we also reach out directly to your landlord for payment processing and other required documents.

To be eligible for 100% of monthly rent and utilities, every adult on the lease must participate in the LERAP application. This means they must provide their income documentation, and list the people, if any, that they bring to the household. If they choose not to participate for any reason, the monthly rent and utilities for a LERAP award will be pro-rated. For instance, if three lessees are listed on the lease, and the Applicant is the only one participating, LERAP will cover one-third (1/3) of the rent and utility amounts.
Two options are available if ther is another adult listed as a lessee (renter) on the lease no longer lives there:
  1. You can work with the Landlord to sign a lease amendment to include only the individual(s) still responsible for paying the rent, and provide that amendment document to LERAP.
  2. We will pro-rate the rent and utilities amount.

    For example, if you and two others are listed as lessees, and the two others have vacated, then LERAP will pay for one-third (1/3) of the rent and utilities.

    If you and two others are listed as lessees, and one of the others has vacated, and the other lessee is participating in the program, LERAP will pay for two-thirds of the rent and utilities.

You can get the status of your request for funding by logging into your unique Applicant Portal.
Refer to the email you received after registering for instructions on accessing your Applicant Portal.

If you cannot locate the email please attempt to re-register using the same email address. The system will not allow you to apply twice but it will generate and automatic email message with the link to your Application Portal.

An applicant wishing to file an appeal of a written decision about their case can obtain a LERAP Appeal Form from your Applicant Portal if the case has been failed, or from your Case Manager.
Please note: Landlords may not appeal decisions.

The appeal form includes:

  1. Date of Appeal
  2. LERAP Application ID#
  3. Email Address
  4. Name
  5. Mailing Address
  6. The LERAP decision they are appealing
  7. Date of the LERAP decision
  8. A complete and concise reason for the appeal
  9. Documentation to support their claim, if any.

Program guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may not be appealed. Landlords may not appeal a LERAP decision.

For questions about the appeal form, please contact your Case Manager. After your appeal has been filed, your Case Manager has no additional information about your appeal.

Submit your appeal to:

  • erapappeal@lackawannacounty.org

Lackawanna County will provide the applicant with a written decision within 60 days of receipt of the appeal.

Second Appeal:
Decisions on appeals by the County may be further appealed to the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas under 2 Pa. C.S. § 752.

Any rent award will be made directly to your landlord or property management company unless the landlord is unresponsive, in which case it will go to you. Likewise, any utility assistance will be made directly to your utility provider.
We are prepared to process the payments quickly. Once we have received the required verification documents from you and your landlord, and the application is approved for funding, a grant agreement will be emailed to you for your electronic signature. Once also signed by this program the funds will be released, usually within five business days.
The award is based on:
  1. The amount of past-due rent, less any rental benefit previously received for the months requested.
  2. plus
  3. The amount of past-due utilities, less any utility benefit previously received for the months requested.
You may still apply for the LERAP. LERAP utility assistance may be provided toward any eligible utility balance.
An Applicant that received rental assistance from another source in the past year is eligible to apply for LERAP and may still be eligible to receive assistance from the Program. Applicants who previously received rent assistance from another source shall not receive LERAP assistance for the same months where they previously received rent assistance, unless an outstanding balance still remains for any of those months. You will be asked to provide your Grant Agreement from the other program(s) that provided assistance.

Landlord/Property Manager

Registration with the LERAP does not bind the landlords to the program. It does make filling out the Registration easier for your tenants who apply. If you choose not to participate with the program the tenant will receive any approved rent assistance.

An email address is a requirement of this program. If you are unable to create one on your own we would be delighted to help by scheduling an in-person appointment. Please call 272-225-5577.
Registering online is smooth and user friendly. If you would rather schedule an in-person meeting please call 272-225-5577.
You cannot register your tenant single-handedly, but your participation with their application is strongly encouraged. Your tenant may find it particularly helpful if you were to invite them to your management office and assist them in completing the application and supplying the requisite documents.
Yes, you can still register as a landlord even if you do not live in Lackawanna County as long as your rental property is located within Lackawanna County.

There is not dollar limit on the size of the grant award. A maximum of eighteen (18) total months of assistance may be provided, including up to 3 months of future rent and utilities and funding already received from LERAP, subject to program guidelines.

Even though there is no specific cap on the amount of rental assistance, our staff is directed to do anti-fraud, waste and abuse analysis which includes:

  • Require submission of a signed and current lease that is compared to the required Landlord Affidavit for consistency.
  • Rental Housing to Income ratio affordability analysis. If the rent far exceeds what a low-income tenant could reasonably afford, we reserve the option to conduct a deeper investigation into affordability and legitimacy of the rent charged.
  • Reviewing public ownership records.
  • Requesting additional documentation from the applicant and/or landlord.

Only two documents are required from the landlord for each tenant who has applied to LERAP:
  1. Landlord Affidavit
  2. W-9
Landlords submit a Landlord Affidavit where they:
  1. Confirm terms and conditions of the lease for the particular tenant.
  2. Specify past due rent month by month.
  3. Specify which utilities, if any, are included in rent.
  4. Commit to cooperate with assisting the tenant to obtain and provide verification documents to expedite processing.
  5. Commit not proceed with any evictions through the last month of rent assisted with LERAP grant funds.
  6. Commit to apply the LERAP grant funds received on behalf of the tenant towards specific months as stated in the Landlord Affidavit.
LERAP is not able to provide assistance for tenants who do not apply for the program.
This information is collected strictly for program reports required by the U.S. Treasury, the source of ERA funds. Your number is used by LERAP only for the required reports, and is stored securely.
A W-9 form is a way for you to provide your Taxpayer Identification Number (also known as your business’ Employer ID Number (EIN) or your Social Security Number (SSN)). ERA is taxable income for a rental property business. The LERAP program will send one 1099 form to every landlord that receives payment from the program.
LERAP is not qualified to provide tax advice. Please consult a tax professional.
In the email you receive, simply click the “Get Check” link. Then print the check and deposit or cash it as you would any other check. Here is a sample email:
Sample Email

Community Partners