Released: April 14, 2022
On Wednesday, April 13, Delaware County was honored to receive the prestigious Governor’s Award for Excellence in Local Government, in recognition of the success of the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (Delco ERA). . The award, presented to Delaware County at the Local Government Day Awards Ceremony held at the Pennsylvania State Museum in downtown Harrisburg, is given annually to a select group of exemplary local leaders for their successes in implementing innovative initiatives to improve the quality of life in their communities.
William F. Martin, the Delaware County attorney and a key contributor to the implementation of the Delco ERA program, traveled to Harrisburg to accept the award on behalf of the county and took the opportunity to salute the significant contributions from numerous government departments, community partner organization, as well as Capital Access Inc., a local grants management company that was selected by the county to help design and administer the program in early 2021.
“Delaware County is proud to accept the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Local Government, and this program is a wonderful illustration of how government can serve our community effectively and efficiently,” said Mr. Martin. “The Delaware County Board, the Delaware County Department of Social Services under Sandy Garrison, Assistant County Attorney Jon Lichtenstein, Capital Access under Jeremey Newberg, numerous staff many other State and county agencies, as well as our many community partners – including Multicultural Community Family Services, Delaware County Foundation, Chester Housing Authority and Chester City Hall – have all played important roles in the success of the program. Delco ERA, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of Delaware County.
The ERA program, first created by Congress through the Consolidated Appropriations Act enacted in 2020 and later expanded under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, established a mechanism by which states and local governments could provide financial assistance to households at risk of eviction, loss of utilities and homelessness due to financial disruption and loss of income during or due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The speed and efficiency with which grants were processed compared to other counties, the safeguards in place to prevent fraudulent claims, and the extent of community outreach and effort to work with residents in-person and on a case-by-case basis were all contributing factors that led to Delaware County being selected to receive the Governor’s Award and recognized as one of the top performing programs in the nation.
To date, Delco ERA has approved more than 8,900 grants, totaling more than $55.6 million, for Delaware County tenants, including $47.4 million for rental assistance and nearly 7, $4 million for utilities. When the program ends later this year, more than $67 million is expected to be distributed, with the average grant totaling more than $6,000.
“The magic of Delco ERA is that Delaware County leaders, community partners, tenants, landlords and Capital Access have all embraced the values of shared investment and shared success. Delco ERA presented an opportunity to go deeper and deeper in terms of community impact and scale for service delivery to help Delco neighbors recover with dignity,” added Jeremey Newberg, CEO of Capital Access and Program Manager for Delco ERA, which was also present at the awards show.
In addition to processing applications, Delco ERA hosted nearly 100 in-person intake sessions, helping more than 3,100 applicants and owners bridge the digital divide and navigate the fair yet rigorous process designed to ensure that only qualified candidates receive assistance. The Delco ERA program team has also worked closely with eviction courts and legal aid organizations to help hundreds of tenants catch up on rent arrears and avoid eviction and the risk of homelessness. .
Delaware County tenants facing housing instability should register on the Delco ERA website at www.delco-era.com while funds remain available. Persons requiring additional information may also contact Delco ERA by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (484) 729-4200.