Announcing Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Relief Assistance & Legal Assistance Programs

March 22, 2021

Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti is announcing the City is partnering with United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA (UNC), Neighborworks of NEPA, and North Penn Legal Services (NPLS) to deliver two CARES Act funding programs to assist city residents.

“Keeping Scrantonians in their homes has been a top priority during the pandemic,” said Mayor Paige Cognetti. “Through this program and in collaboration with our community partners we will be able to provide support to both families and landlords who have been adversely effected by the pandemic.”

The Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Relief Assistance Program will distribute $1,135,629.00 of CARES Act funding from ESG-CV to alleviate financial strain on eligible city residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  UNC will administer the Rent and Utility Relief Assistance portions of the program, while Neighborworks will manage Mortgage Relief Assistance.  All funds distributed by UNC and Neighborworks will be given directly to the utility company, landlord, or mortgage company.  No funding will be directly distributed to applicants.  Funding will be disbursed to eligible residents on a first come, first serve basis. Keep up-to-date of the UNC website for an application for the program.

There are multiple eligibility and funding requirements:

All applicants must show that they were up to date with payments before the pandemic and can prove income loss due to pandemic. All applicants must fall under the 80% AMI (area median income).  Landlords and homeowners must be up to date with all City fees and taxes.  Homeowners must use the home as their principle residence.  Mortgage assistance will only cover principle payments and interest.  It will NOT cover taxes or insurance.  Second mortgages are not eligible.

“UNC is pleased to partner with the city of Scranton and Neighborworks on this initiative which will provide much needed  support to hundreds of community members who have suffered financial consequences due to the pandemic” said Lisa Durkin.  “This relief comes at a time when many of our neighbors are at risk of losing their homes and their most basic sense of security.  We are eager to distribute this funding to property owners and mortgage lenders and provide peace of mind to those facing eviction or foreclosure.”

“Evictions and foreclosures have a significant impact not only on the individuals facing them, but also on the neighborhoods in which they reside” said Jesse Ergott, President  & CEO of NeighborWorks. “These resources will help to ensure housing stability for some of our most vulnerable neighbors while also keeping our neighborhoods strong.”

The Legal Assistance Program empowers NPLS with $150,000 of CARES Act CDBG-CV funding to offer free civil legal services to City of Scranton Residents who may be facing eviction as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  NPLS is a nonprofit organization which offers free legal assistance throughout NEPA to low-income families, individuals, and groups to promote equal access to justice for all.  NPLS receives funding from IOLTA to work specifically in Scranton and has been looking to expand their impact within the City of Scranton.  This grant will allow NPLS to hire an additional legal attorney to manage civil legal issues for Scranton residents.  They estimate that 250 individuals will be directly impacted by this service as well as about 600 people total when including family households. “This is a very important time to connect landlords and tenants with available funding opportunities to cover past due rent and utilities,” stated Lori Molloy. “If we can do that, everybody wins.”

To apply for free legal assistance apply online at or call 877-953-4250 Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am -11:30 am or 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm.

Last modified: March 23, 2021

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