Last week, County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced that the deadline for renter households in Mercer County impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for financial assistance toward unpaid rent or utility bills has been extended until April 5, 2021.

Help is available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) launched by the Mercer County Department of Human Services, Office on Homeless Services, in partnership with the Mercer County Board of Social Services. The program is being funded by a nearly $11 million grant made possible by the federal stimulus package signed in December.

Eligible applicants are Mercer County renter households only, in which an individual qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship due to Covid-19; demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, for example, has a past-due utility or rent notice, or an eviction notice; and has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

Mercer County, through the Board of Social Services, will screen and certify applicants and will work with its community partners to ensure that eligible community members, particularly those facing eviction, get access to the resources in order to keep families from becoming homeless.

If your family is in need of assistance with unpaid rent or utilities, you are encouraged to complete an application online by close of business April 5 at http://bit.ly/ERAPAPPLY for the English version and http://bit.ly/ERAP_Spanish for the Spanish version.

For more information, contact the Mercer County Board of Social Services at 609-389-3575, or email erap@mcboss.org. Social workers from the Board are available Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assist your household. Mercer County landlords are also encouraged to have their tenants apply for the program if assistance is needed.