Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

This Pa. senator is pivotal to replacing Ginsburg


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
September 21, 2020
Evictions 101, Lehigh Valley Mall shooting, RIP RBG and all eyes on Toomey, safe scares this Halloween, and last call, now at 11 p.m... because it's Monday.
There’s a lot of confusion about where things stand with evictions in Pennsylvania. At the beginning of September, the state’s ban on evictions expired and a new federal one went into effect until the end of the year. 

Because so much is changing, Spotlight PA reporter Charlotte Keith has put together this brief guide to help you understand your options (or share with others). Engagement Fellow Yaasmeen Piper made this information available in a printable infographic that you can share with your neighbors, local organizations, places of worship, and anyone else who needs this information. 

Am I protected from eviction? 

A federal order bans most evictions for failure to pay rent until the end of the year. To qualify, you must fill out a form certifying that: 

  • you have experienced a “substantial” loss of income

  • you are making “best efforts” to pay as much of your rent as possible and to get help from government assistance programs 

  • you do not earn more than $99,000 per year. 

Lawyers recommend that you send one copy of the form to your landlord via certified mail, and keep another for yourself. Each adult listed on the lease should fill out the form.

Where can I get help paying my rent?

If you are at least 30 days behind on rent, you may qualify for rental assistance from the state. The program requires both you and your landlord to fill out paperwork. You must apply through a local organization in the county where you live. If you live in Philadelphia, or in Allegheny County, you can apply online.

You can find that information, as well as the application forms, on the website of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.  

The deadline to apply is currently Sep. 30, but state lawmakers are considering giving people more time to apply, as well as changing some of the program’s rules. Follow Spotlight PA for updates.

My landlord is trying to evict me. What should I do?

If your landlord has already filed for eviction, or tries to move ahead with an eviction even after you send them the form, you should contact a lawyer. The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network may be able to help you find a lawyer who will represent you at no cost.

Charlotte Keith and Yaasmeen Piper, Spotlight PA

“I will never forget the second of silence that happened after the shots, as we processed what we heard. Then everyone started screaming. My husband slid behind a jewelry display in the middle of the mall and I army-crawled to him.”

–– Ashley Giammona, who was with her husband on the second floor of the Lehigh Valley Mall when gunshots were fired Saturday. The Morning Call reports no one was hurt. 
POST IT: Sabrina Oliveria (@im.sabrinna) poses with Rocky at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
RIP RBG: Pennsylvania officials this weekend mourned the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Capital-Star reports. Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey offered his gratitude for Ginsburg's service, but was noticeably silent on whether he would support a move to replace her less than two months before the election. 

RUNNING OUT: Pennsylvania has already distributed almost half of its extra federal coronavirus-related dollars for the unemployed. The state's Department of Labor and Industry is urging eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for the benefits as soon as possible, TribLive reports.

YEARS OF STRUGGLE: The family of Ricardo Munoz, who was fatally shot by a Lancaster city police officer, said they tried for years to get him help for his mental illnesses, WITF reports. His death has put back into the spotlight a 2012 state cut for mental health services, and providers fear more budget cuts could be on the way this year.

NO SHOW: A rally planned by a far-right group in a Philadelphia park over the weekend never materialized. Instead, 500 members of the diverse neighborhood gathered at the park, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

LAST CALL, LATER: Pennsylvanians will now be able to purchase alcohol at restaurants until 11 p.m., according to PennLive. The change comes just one week after Gov. Tom Wolf set the cutoff at 10 p.m. while allowing restaurants to increase indoor capacity. 
IT'S REALLY HAPPENING: You won't be cramming into Beaver Stadium anytime soon, but yes, Penn State football is back. Check out the Nittany Lions' fall schedule here.

A SPOOKY SEASON: For many farms, the fall is a crucial season for their survival. The Inquirer has the latest on how haunted cornfields and pick-your-own-pumpkin patches are keeping things safe amid COVID-19. 

 A NEW KIND OF MUSICAL: For those strictly confined to their homes, the pandemic has just been one long string of cabin fever. That's why residents of this Philly-area personal care facility decided to lighten the mood and stage a Zoom-based coronavirus musical 

IN A HAZE: Some Pennsylvanians are waking up to a murky sunrise lately. It's the result of the West Coast wildfires — which goes to show just how much smoke these devastating fires are putting into the atmosphere. But this phenomenon actually isn't quite as unusual as you might think.

SHANAH TOVAH: This past weekend was the Jewish New Year. With 2020 going as it has, it can feel good to turn the page and feel like you're beginning a fresh start, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. Pennsylvanians are finding their own ways to celebrate the festivities given current restrictions.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Friday's answer: Equipment

Congrats to last week's winner Daniel G., who will get some awesome Spotlight PA swag.

Congrats to our daily winners: Geoff M., Patricia R., Frank H., Elijah R., Lynne E., Carol D., Theodore W., Kim C., Art W., Alex L., Sue B-W., Tracey C., Craig W., Chris W., Beth T., Tish M., Brandie K., Irene R., Scott Z., Jenn M., Lisa M., Jill A-S., Joel S., Sue C., John H., Ann and John, Martin C., John C., Steve D., Chris M., Karen W., Daniel G., Kathleen M., Stuart K., and Chris W.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Chip in to support local journalism.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
225 Market St., Suite 502A
Harrisburg, PA 17101

You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, which has combined with Spotlight PA to create Pennsylvania's largest statewide newsroom dedicated to accountability journalism.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.