Valley Health Partners to aid the homeless as federal eviction moratorium ends

Valley Health Partners Street Medicine program is preparing to care for more homeless patients as the federal eviction moratorium has ended.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, the federal government ordered a temporary halt to evictions of most renters and homeowners unable to pay landlords or mortgages. This eviction moratorium ended Aug. 26, and landlords again can evict renters unable to pay rent, putting thousands of people at risk for homelessness.

According to projections from the Pool Center for Health Analytics, the number of homeless people in the seven counties served by Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) could increase by 50% now that the moratorium has expired, leaving up to more than 15,000 people homeless.

Valley Health Partners Street Medicine program, which provides care regardless of ability to pay to the homeless of Lehigh and Northampton counties in encampments and shelters, is preparing to care for more homeless patients.

“Our supply of medications, food, tents, blankets and other items will be stretched beyond need by the anticipated surge,” said Nani Cuadrado, Valley Health Partners Street Medicine program director. “Our goal is to provide comprehensive health care and make people aware of the resources provided by our great partners who help those facing homelessness by providing access to federal funding to help landlords with available units.”

The Landlord Engagement Program encourages landlords to join a network of their peers who have agreed to rent to homeless or at-risk households. Provided by the Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board (LVRHAB), the program ensures guaranteed rent, reimbursement for property damage, missed rent, case management for tenants and other support.

Landlords who agree to work with LVRHAB clients are eligible for a $1,000 sign-on bonus. Landlords also have access to $2,500 in funds to assist with bringing vacant units to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards.

Landlords interested in learning about the Landlord Engagement Program, and people who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless can contact these organization for information and assistance:

Catholic Charities 900 S. Woodward St. Allentown, PA 18103 610-541-2191

The Lehigh Conference of Churches 457 Allen St. Allentown, PA 18102 610-433-6421 or 610-439-8653

New Bethany Ministries 333 Fourth St. Bethlehem, PA 18015 610-691-5602

Pa landlords urged to postpone evictions due to COVID-19

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro is urging landlords across the state to not begin any new eviction proceedings until at least July 15.

Jason Pryor, a landlord with property in Easton, sees two sides to the COVID-19 eviction issue PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

As courts prepare to reopen, including those that handle evictions, Shapiro sent a letter to landlords to protect Pennsylvanians facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter called on them to:

  • Not begin any new eviction proceedings based on non-payment of rent until at least July 15th.
  • Extend grace periods for late payments and waive late fees for residents that have provided documentation of financial hardship or loss of employment related to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Create payment plans for residents, including those with previously outstanding eviction balances, and put the plan in writing.
  • Help residents identify and access resources available through government and community programs.

Jason Pryor, a Pennsylvania-based landlord with a rental property in Easton, sees both the possible positive and negative effects of postponing evictions due to nonpayment. “It all makes sense on the surface,” he said. “It is the responsibility of those with means to recognize the struggles of others. But at the same time, money trickles up, not down.”

Pryor said that it is important for people to remember that landlords also have mortgages to pay and many rely on rental income to pay those bills.

“A capitalist culture relies on hard work, determination and grit to get things done,” he said. “We are now seeing the limitations of that.”