Boost Your Donation During The Amazing Raise

Open Hearth is proud to participate in The Amazing Raise. This regional month of giving is an initiative of the TriCounty Community Network. We hope you can contribute to Open Hearth during the month of October to boost your gift’s impact!  To donate, visit:

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Helps During Covid

Open Hearth partners to provide rent and utility assistance to those in need 

“I am a business professional and have been working in this great country and never needed help. I can’t thank [Homelessness Prevention Manager] Cory and her team enough for the help and support given during my time of need in my life.” 

– Michael, Open Hearth client 

     Michael is not alone as someone who has been employed their whole life, never needing to access safety net programs to get by until the pandemic hit last year. Covid-19 changed that reality for millions of Americans. Record numbers of layoffs in early 2020 created a new, difficult reality for many individuals and families who faced unprecedented financial challenges. Others became ill or had to care for family members who were ill, requiring an unpaid leave from work.

     At the start of 2021 Open Hearth was approached by Chester County’s Department of Community Development with the opportunity to become a contracted partner for the US Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). We were awarded a $2.7 million contract in April that was increased to a total of $3.7 million in July. ERAP’s goal is to provide rental and utility assistance to households impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 99.2 percent of funds go directly towards client rent and utility payments. In a little over five months, Open Hearth has provided over $1.7 million in direct relief. 

     And it’s not just tenants who are expressing their appreciation for the lifeline ERAP provides. ERAP requires the participation of landlords to receive rental assistance. One landlord who owns several units in Phoenixville wrote to us to share his gratitude for the program, and his gratitude for the Open Hearth staff who helped facilitate the application process. 

     As he put it, “I was struggling to survive, my tenants were struggling to pay the rent, and I had to give them breaks—pass on collecting rent sometimes. Everyone was frustrated. I kept on struggling until one day someone told us about Open Hearth and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. I knew that there was hope and that someone out there was willing to help, and this is exactly what happened. I want to take this opportunity to thank our government and each one of you at Open Hearth…for the great job and effort that they put into my case to help my tenants and secure a safe home for them. I was also saved from defaulting on my mortgage. Big thanks to you guys—you made us proud by working hard to improve our society and spread good faith and hope in our hearts.”

Open Hearth’s Family Savings Program Helps Chester County Resident Attain Her Dream

Matched savings and personal financial workshops helped Amber reach her goals

Chester County resident Amber had a dream to attain a degree in the nursing field. As a single mom of two, Amber faced many challenges along the path to reaching that dream. She worked full-time and supported her two children—all while attending classes. 

Amber was thrilled she could save $1,000 and receive a $3,000 match to pay for her final semester without taking out a loan.  

     Even with the many hats she had to wear, graduating with a bachelors in allied health from Immaculata University remained the number one goal for Amber. On top of time constraints, she was concerned about the challenges of the pandemic and how to pay for school. After learning of Open Hearth’s Family Savings Partner Program, Amber was thrilled to discover that if she saved $1,000 she could receive a $3,000 match to pay for her final semester, without taking out a loan. 

     Amber saved $1,000 and attended personal financial workshops to complete the Family Savings Program. The financial education helped her create a monthly budget that identified expenses she could cut back or eliminate. She also learned about investing and saving for the future.

     Amber graduated from Immaculata University in the spring of 2021. She says she achieved the goal for herself, and for her children and family, who supported her as she made sacrifices to attain this monumental achievement in her life. 

     Amber expressed tremendous gratitude for the Family Savings Partner Program and hopes that others who need financial assistance for college will also take advantage of this resource. 

     Open Hearth’s Family Savings Partner Program is funded with support from the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.