Potter County still has more than $1 million to help renters and landlords affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The moratorium is ending July 31 for federal evictions for nonpayment of rent,” said Commissioner Nancy Grupp at the board's meeting July 29. “Due to that, if anyone is behind in rent due to COVID – lack of hours, laid off, etc. – contact Potter County Human Services.”

Grupp said funding through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available to both renters and landlords and can help with utility payments as well as rent. Inability to pay must be directly related to COVID-19 and the program ends Sept. 30, 2022.

“We have issued $161,000 in rent and utility assistance, so we still have plenty of funds available,” said Grupp.

Jim Kockler, executive director of Potter County Human Services, said at a previous commissioners meeting that the county had received $1,860,000 for the program. He also said he expects the number of applicants for the program to increase once the federal mandate barring landlords from evicting tenants ends.

For further questions or to apply, contact jkockler@pottercountypa.net or 814-544-7315.

Also at the meeting, Commissioner Paul Heimel gave an update on the county’s work to bring high-speed broadband to parts of the county lacking a reliable internet connection.

“Washington is on the cusp of approving an infrastructure bill. Rural broadband expansion has a lot of support by both parties. The new measures are calling for $65 billion, which sound like a lot,” said Heimel, adding that

He said while broadband expansion is part of the county’s strategic plan, figuring out what role the county can and should play in it is “a very complicated equation.” He said most of their work has focused around putting partnerships together and looking into channels for funding.

“It’s a work in progress with a lot of moving parts, but those all seem to be moving in positive directions,” said Heimel.

Also at the meeting, commissioners announced they are holding their first night meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Gunzburger Building. Grupp said they’re trialing one night meeting per quarter so constituents who may work at the normal 11 a.m. time can attend.

Grupp also said a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Coudersport Senior Center, 171 Rt 6 West/6th St., Coudersport. No registration is necessary. The Pifzer vaccine will be administered, and the second shot will be administered on Thursday, Sept. 16. For more information, call 814-544-7315.

The next meeting of the Potter County Commissioners is 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 12 in the front conference room of the Gunzburger Building, Coudersport, or by phone; call 814-274-0844 and enter pin 114477#.

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