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  • Dana DeLapi


Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Some colleges offer housing support alternatives and partner with community members to create housing opportunities for students. Connect with the “student support services” office, or check out the off-campus housing options listings, at your college to obtain more details.

If you have been in the foster care system, contact your Chafee Coordinator. Child welfare agencies are obligated to provide these services to people who are Chafee-eligible and living in their state or county. To find your Chafee/IL coordinators, click here.

Eviction Diversion Programs are now in effect, preventing landlords from filing evictions without first applying for rental assistance.

Residents of counties with high or substantial rates of COVID-19 transmission may be protected from eviction by the CDC’s latest eviction moratorium through October 3rd. To determine whether you live in one of these counties, review the CDC’s national map to see if your county is identified as having a high (red) or substantial (orange) transmission rate. If so, contact your local housing advocacy or legal aid organization for additional guidance.

If you are at risk of falling behind on your mortgage payments, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has extended the deadline for homeowners to start new forbearance plans to September 30, 2021. New requests to pause or reduce mortgage payments will receive assistance for six months. For those who have previously requested forbearance assistance between July 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020, the FHA is providing an additional three-month forbearance extension. A new type of home retention option is also being introduced called the COVID-19 Advance Loan Modification (COVID-19 ALM). This will be offered to borrowers that are delinquent for 90 days or more or are at the end of their COVID-19 Forbearance. Additional information can be found here.

If you have loans through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, contact your loan servicer, the company listed on your mortgage statement, to discuss alternative options. Stay up to date on the latest news.

In the event of extreme hot weather, cooling centers can be a source of relief from the hot temperatures.

Local housing assistance resources

Philly Tenant Offers resources for education on tenant rights through the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project.
Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN) Offers tenant rights workshops, individual free counseling over the phone, hotline assistance, and tenant union organizing assistance among many other services. 100 South Broad St., Suite 800 215-940-3900

New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) Offers supportive services to help individuals and families track personal finances, along with housing assistance regarding renter’s rights, representation in housing court, and help with applying for mortgage forbearance. 2771 Ruth St., Suite 1 215-427-0350

People’s Emergency Center Offers counseling services for banking, budgeting, credit, and debt elimination needs, along with emergency, transitional, and permanent housing assistance. Main: 267-777-5800 Community Resource Hotline: 267-777-5477

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network Offers individual counseling and weekly workshops for establishing a bank account, restoring credit, creating a savings plan, negotiating debts, and securing benefits (i.e., SNAP, TANF, etc.). Additional services include assistance with emergency and transitional housing. 7047 Germantown Ave. 215-247-4663 ext. 140

Asociacion de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) Offers financial and supportive services to individuals and families including education on budgeting, debt reduction, credit repair, foreclosure counseling, predatory lending counseling, and money management. 600 Diamond St. 215-235-6070

Congreso de Latinos Unidos Offers assistance with housing counseling, rapid rehousing through the Office of Homeless Services referrals, tax preparation assistance, breast-feeding and parenting education, healthcare services, and support and advocacy for survivors and children exposed to domestic abuse and violence. 216 W. Somerset St. 215-763-8870 267-765-2272

Diversified Community Services (Dixon House) Offers assistance for homeowners behind on their rent or in danger of defaulting. 1529 S. 22nd St. 215-336-5505

Emergency Assistant and Response Unity (EARU) Offers assistance to individuals and families who are at risk of homelessness and other housing services. Office of Homeless Services 1401 JFK Blvd.,10th Floor 215-686-7177

Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry Offers rent assistance up to $300 in the following Northwest Philadelphia zip codes: 19118, 19119, 19126, 19138, 19144, and 19150, as well as support for landlord negotiation, payment agreements, and mortgage assistance. 35 W. Chelten Ave. 215-843-2340

Save Your Home Philly Hotline Offers help with cases, provide connections to housing counselors, and provide referrals to legal services. Assistance is also provided for those experiencing foreclosure through their Residential Mortgage & Tax Foreclosure Prevention Program. 215-334-4663 Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Emergency Shelter Allowance (ESA) Offers cash assistance up to $400, for those experiencing homelessness or are in danger of becoming homeless. Proof of emergency and that this aid would stop the housing emergency is required, along with meeting all income, resource, and non-financial guidelines.

BenePhilly Offers support and guidance with social service applications and legal assistance at various local organizations. 2761 North 22nd St. (mobile unit) 833-373-5668

Broad Street Ministry Offers to-go lunches, support for SNAP benefits, and additional social service assistance for housing (mail service), legal assistance, and healthcare. If you need a mailing address to establish residency, get identification, search for employment, and receive benefits, contact Aaliyah at or 215-735-4847 ext. 103. 315 S. Broad St. Monday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Catholic Social Services Offers emergency food, housing, as well as parenting and childcare assistance (diapers and formula). Casa del Carmen (4400 North Reese St.) Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. 267-331-2500 Northeast Philadelphia (7340 Jackson St.) Monday to Friday, 9 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 2 p.m. 215-624-5920 Southwest Philadelphia (6214 Grays St.) Monday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 215-724-8550

COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program You can now apply for Phase 4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and check the status of your application if it was submitted during Phases 1, 2, or 3. If you were not able to apply and are facing eviction, you may seek assistance through the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project by visiting PhillyTenant or call the hotline at 267-443-2500 for support, including legal aid.

Together We Rise Offers emergency financial assistance to college students who have been displaced, are experiencing homelessness, and need help with unexpected housing expenses. Fill out this form if you are a displaced student in need of help.

Access Legal housing-related assistance resources

Utilities Emergency Services Fund Offers financial assistance to homeowners facing utility terminations and provides occasional rental assistance.
Community Legal Services Offers array of free legal services to Philadelphia residents who rent from private landlords, reside in public housing units, or are facing public utility issues. New clients are only being accepted by phone to the Center City office. Center City Office (1424 Chestnut St.) 215-981-3700 North Philadelphia Office (1410 W. Erie Ave.) 215-227-2400

Philadelphia Landlord/Tenant Legal Help Center Offers assistance to Philadelphia residents facing eviction and other rental housing issues, particularly for unrepresented, low-income individuals.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Offers free services to low-income homeowners of Philadelphia regarding legal housing concerns, foreclosure, home repairs, and subsidized housing. To obtain assistance, you must complete an online intake application. 718 Arch St., Suite 300N Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 215-981-3800 Save Your Home Philly Hotline: 215-334-4663

Access safe housing

Whether it’s a bad relationship with parents, family, or the people you live with, we know an unsafe housing situation can happen quickly, and present many unique challenges. For many students, college was their reprieve from these situations, and being sent back to an unsafe home can be particularly difficult.

Hotlines that assist people with unsafe living environments are still operating. Many hotlines also have texting options that may be easier to use if you’re in self-isolation with other people and want to maintain your privacy.

Depaul USA Offers services in housing, case management, financial education, consumer-centered employment assistance.
Covenant House Offers short and long term housing assistance as well as advocacy work.
Project Home Offers permanent, subsidized housing for individuals, adult education and employment services, healthcare services, and advocacy work.
Eddie's House Offers housing, weekly support groups, workshops, life coaching, and education, job, and career development.
Episcopal Community Services Has a rapid re-housing program that offers housing and comprehensive coaching services for families who have experienced homelessness.
Joseph J. Peters Institute Offers individual, group and family therapy programs for those who have committed sexual offenses, have sexual behavior problems or a history of perpetrating interpersonal violence. Safety & Responsibility Services (1211 Chestnut St., 5th Floor) Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. 215-665-8670 Survivor Services (100 South Broad St., 17th Floor) Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. 215-701-1560 Crisis line: 215-685-6440 (available 24 hours per day)

Lutheran Settlement House Bilingual Domestic Violence Program Offers individual and group counseling for survivors (children, teens, and adults regardless of gender or sexual orientation) of domestic and dating abuse. Fishtown (1340 Frankford Ave.) 215-426-8610, ext. 1236 Jane Addams Place (1007 West Lehigh Ave.) 215-387-2587

Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline Offers hotline counselors can help connect you with free services in the Philadelphia area, including emergency housing, legal services, and behavioral health services. If you think that your relationship is abusive or if you know someone who you think is being abused, call the 24-hour hotline operated through Women Against Abuse at 866-723-3014. Bilingual counselors are available on the line for non-English speaking individuals.

Women Organized Against Rape Offers counseling for adults, teens, and children affected by sexual violence including sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape/date rape, and incest at 215-985-3315 or 215-985-3333 (24-hour helpline).

Congreso de Latinos Unidos Offers assistance with housing counseling, rapid rehousing through the Office of Homeless Services referrals, tax preparation assistance, breast-feeding and parenting education, healthcare services, and support and advocacy for survivors and children exposed to domestic abuse and violence. 216 W. Somerset St. 215-763-8870 267-765-2272

Access a homeless shelter

We want to help you do everything possible to avoid homeless shelters right now. They are already overwhelmed and may not be able to keep people safe from infection during this public health crisis. However, if necessary, a shelter is better than going without housing altogether. If you have other safe housing options, we advise you to explore them before entering a shelter.

If you are or know of someone in Philadelphia experiencing homelessness, call the Project HOME 24-Hour Homeless Outreach Hotline at 215-232-1984 or 877-222-1984.

If you are between 18 and 24 years old and experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia County, you can also go to a youth access point to be evaluated for services through the homeless assistance system at one of the following agencies:

H.E.L.P. Philadelphia Public Health Management Corp. (PHMC) has partnered with H.E.L.P. USA to provide low-income families with transitional apartments and permanent townhouses. Additional services include day care, health services, and case management. 1500 Market St., Suite 1500 215-473-6454
Valley Youth House Offers a variety of emergency, independent, and permanent housing services based on age. See additional resources for youth and families here. 1500 Sansom St., 3rd Floor 215-925-3180 Monday: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Wednesday: 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Thursday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. If you are under 18, contact the Valley Youth House Synergy Project Hotline for resources at 888-HOUSE-15. If you are 18 and up, contact Homeless Outreach at 877-222-1984.
Vital Documents Toolkit for young adults entering a Homeless Shelter (PDF) Offers basic information about how to obtain vital documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, state identification cards, working papers and health records. You need one or more of these documents to get a job, apply for benefits, get an apartment, apply for a GED and apply for college.

Additionally, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless services lists several intake sites for emergency housing, including this homeless shelter directory to locate a shelter within the Philadelphia area.

Access help to pay for utilities and other bills

Call your creditors (anyone to whom you owe money) and the companies that send you bills to get your payments stopped or reduced. Be sure to clearly state upfront that you are a college student, your income has been affected because of COVID-19, and you are unable to afford the current payments.

Even though the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) lifted the utility service termination moratorium on April 1, the PUC is now able to offer extended repayment terms to residential and small business customers.

Additionally, you may qualify to get a reduction in your heating bill through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Your eligibility will be based on the following:

  • You must meet income guidelines (see guidelines)

  • You don't have to be on public assistance

  • You don't need to have an unpaid heating bills

  • You can rent or own your home

UESF offers the Utility Grant Program (UGP), which you may be eligible for based on the following criteria:

  • You are a Philadelphia resident.

  • You have a notice of service termination, or actual shut off, for PECO, PGW or PWD.

  • You have not received a UGP grant in the past 24 months.

  • You have applied for LIHEAP Cash and Crisis program first.

  • You owe an amount that is not more than the utility grant. If the amount surpasses the maximum grant allowed, the applicant is responsible for the balance.

  • You are at or below 175% of Federal Poverty Level (to be determined at the time of application).

  • For additional details click here.

  • They also offer a College Savings Account Program by matching $3 for every $1 saved for higher education purposes, up to $500, offering students up to $1,500 in assistance.

If you need additional help with a utility shut-off notice, Community Legal Services offers guidance to navigate this process. If you or your family live outside of Philadelphia, find help here.

Consider other local and national emergency aid programs, including relief for first-responders and their families and individuals in the service industry (i.e., restaurant, coffee shop, and delivery services) who may continue to be affected by the pandemic. If you are a frontline health care worker battling COVID-19, Johnson & Johnson provides a series of resources including cash grants and other supports.

Utilities Emergency Services Fund Offers financial assistance for those at risk of having their utilities shut off 1608 Walnut St., Suite 600 Main: 215-972-5170 Vet Line: 215-814-6888

Electric Bill Savings Program The Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) and other electric companies in Pennsylvania offer budget plans and tips that can help you save money throughout the year. Apply for ​PECO's Customer Assistance Program here and get help by calling 800-774-7040.

Additionally, the City of Philadelphia has resources to assist you with paying utility bills or maintain service due to COVID-19 challenges. Learn more about the available customer assistance programs for gas or water.

Still in need of help? Check out the other sections of the Philadelphia Local Guide.

Please note: Edquity does not endorse nor is Edquity associated with any business, organization, product or service that is mentioned in these Guides. Edquity is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information provided, which may change over time. We encourage you to contact the business or organization listed to receive the most up-to-date information.


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