The local paper reports that hundreds facing eviction in Delaware County may soon get a life preserver. Delaware County officials are working on preparing to receive between $16 to $20 million from the state allocated through the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program to help those in jeopardy of losing their homes during the pandemic.

On-site locations would be at the Human Services offices in Upper Darby and in the county offices at Baldwin Tower in Eddystone, where people could apply for this assistance.

A County Councilwoman says, ‘Eight hundred evictions in the court system right now, that’s crazy – that’s during a moratorium on evictions … I would assume there are a lot more out there since there’s been a moratorium on evictions.”

I remember being on the landlord side of the equation trying to get a tenant evicted and how long it took. This was a few years before the pandemic. From the moment the tenant appealed the Chester magistrate’s decision to allow eviction, which then lands in the County’s eviction process, it was close to a year before there was a hearing scheduled in county court. 

I mention this little fact because there are likely a lot of eviction cases in the county court system that landed there well before the pandemic and still haven’t been heard. I imagine they have to be cleared before any new ‘pandemic era’ cases will end up in court. As I told a landlord friend of mine, it could be 2 to 3 years before you get to court with the current backlog in the county coupled with all the new eviction cases piling up in the court system.

As far as the $20 million go, what will be the cut off date to receive the pandemic related Federal Emergency Rental Assistance? Do families facing eviction before the pandemic who are still awaiting a hearing date qualify for the money, or will the money only go to families that face eviction since March 2020 (or whatever date the pandemic was declared)?

I’m sure this is one of the questions County Council will have to consider when they dole out the money because a lot of pandemic money could be used up by folks who have been waiting for a hearing before the pandemic. Is that fair to the people who have been, or will be, evicted since the pandemic?