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(44,500 posts)
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 12:33 AM Dec 2020

PA misses deadline to spend $108M in rent, mortgage relief from CARES Act (it goes to prisons now)


HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania tenants and homeowners missed out on roughly $108 million of $175 million in federal coronavirus relief because state programs distributing the funding made it too hard to access, Spotlight PA has found. The remaining money will be redistributed to the state’s Department of Corrections.

Over the summer, Pennsylvania created two new housing programs to spend money it received under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: $150 million for rent relief and $25 million for mortgage help. Thousands of struggling families applied up until an extended Nov. 4 deadline, as coronavirus shutdowns led to layoffs, lost wages, and missed rent and mortgage payments. Local governments and nonprofits administering the funds were inundated with phone calls and emails from people pleading for help with the demanding application processes.

Nonetheless, the deadline to pay out all $175 million was Nov. 30 and roughly $108 million was not used, according to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which oversaw both programs and was still finalizing the precise numbers on Friday. The legislature voted in November to redirect any remaining CARES Act funds from these and other programs to the Department of Corrections. The money will go toward payroll expenses for public safety and health-care employees, “or similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the covid-19 public health emergency.”

“It’s horrible to know that the state did such a poor job of helping people,” said Patty Torres, organizing director at Make the Road Pennsylvania, a Latinx advocacy group.

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(5,570 posts)
11. This is a fuckup that we own too
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 09:33 AM
Dec 2020

We control the governorship and through that have control over many state agencies. We didn't try to do anything to help utilize these funds better either.

PA politics is saturated by incompetence, indifference, and corruption - and we own a share of it too.

Marie Marie

(9,999 posts)
12. You are right but this is the paragraph that caught my eye:
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 03:49 PM
Dec 2020

But it was not until October that the Republican-controlled House unanimously approved a bill introduced by Rep. Sue Helm (R., Dauphin) that would have made last-minute fixes to the program, simplified the application process, and given Pennsylvanians more time to apply. The bill did not advance in the Senate, where Republicans also hold the majority.

Response to Celerity (Original post)


(44,500 posts)
3. They do it because they not only get away with it, but they are rewarded by the Rethug/MAGAt base
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 01:00 AM
Dec 2020

who love to see people hurt and hammered into oblivion (triple points if it is people of colour getting fucked over). Only way to stop it is to vote them out. Trump has so openly empowered huge swathes of the RW electorate to see government at all levels as a punitive 'white nationalist/war on the poor/smash the (utterly imaginary) 'commies' ' tool (the old 'he isn't hurting the people he needs to be hurting' meme) that it makes it twice as hard.

Trump voter: 'He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting'


Response to Celerity (Reply #3)


(44,500 posts)
7. The Rethugs control both the PA House and the PA Senate with clear majorities.
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 01:19 AM
Dec 2020

Neuter the PoC in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in terms of being any sort of viable countervailing political force and PA is Alabama with Amish.

Response to Celerity (Reply #7)


(1,584 posts)
4. Another example of why direct payments are better
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 01:05 AM
Dec 2020

Not fair but it gets money to people. It’s an emergency. Tying up the funds in red tape makes it only accessible to the few and the connected. In normal times we certainly want funds targeted at those in need but this situation is different and our government has been intentionally broken.

Response to MoonlitKnight (Reply #4)


(28,356 posts)
9. Conveniently going to prisons, probably their privately owned ones.
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 05:36 AM
Dec 2020


It's like the NJ lottery saying that the money goes to Higher Education and other institutions, when most of it goes to the prisons. Prisons - The Other Institution.

People buy tickets thinking, well it's helping out colleges. Nope.


Roisin Ni Fiachra

(2,574 posts)
10. How Republican party is that, to take from the poor, and give to the jailers?
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 08:46 AM
Dec 2020

Betcha prison Wardens and Dept. of Corrections executives in Pennsylvania are getting raises and fat Christmas bonuses this year.


(15,351 posts)
13. Contacted my Republican state rep about a related
Sat Dec 26, 2020, 04:29 PM
Dec 2020

issue regarding the use of 1.3B of CARES Act funding to balance the budget rather than spending it. I got a very professional reply with a detailed spreadsheet of all various allocations of CARES Act money. The remaining 1.3B was used to on payroll for frontline public safety and public health employees (who had to be paid one way or another).

As I understand it, the application process for the rent/mortage assistance was too convoluted or too complex. I don't know how the application rules were set or who set them, the state legislature, Gov Wolf, PFHA, some combination of the three or was defined in the CARES Act itself, but it is sad that a way couldn't be found to distribute more than 40% or so of the available funds.

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