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Pocono Mountains United Way talks eviction mediation program in Monroe County

There's a new, free eviction mediation program in Monroe County designed to help people struggling because of COVID-19.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Many people have faced financial hardship this year. Some struggles have led to late or unpaid rent.

In Monroe County, the Pocono Mountains United Way is looking to help you and your landlord come up with a solution.

"What it is, is an opportunity for a landlord and tenant to come together with me as a mediator, being a facilitator, being able to listen to both of them have a conversation, but keeping them going by asking questions, clarifying issues, just the idea of helping them to come to an agreement that will help prevent the tenant from being evicted," said Linda Paugh, Pocono Mountains United Way.

It's called the Landlord-Tenant Eviction Mediation program.

"There's no cost to the landlord, no cost to the tenant. The only cost is a couple of hours of their time. Of course, if they agree, both parties have won. Sometimes they may not come to an agreement, but so far, we've had a 100 percent success rate, and they go away with an agreement and are able to stay where they are in their home," said Paugh.

Paugh says the goal is to avoid eviction and court filing by helping both parties work together.

"It could be a situation where they are just behind on their rent because they've lost their income. They need to catch up. In which case, we may be mediating for the landlord to either have them, come up with a payment plan that might assist them to catch up, or maybe he will forgive some of the rent knowing that the tenant will plan to move out," said Paugh.

Mediations are limited to tenants with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and those who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

"For those that don't qualify, I am able to provide them with referrals, legal assistance, rental assistance, something in the community to be able to help them get through this as it is," said Paugh.

More information is available here if you think you can benefit from the Pocono Mountains United Way Eviction Mediation Program.