Scaling Emergency Rental Assistance

Compliance, Grants Management with CAPGEMS
Lackawanna County, PA

Like so many county and government agencies we work with, Lackawanna County was woefully understaffed and needed help to streamline its processes and handle the increasing demands of the community, particularly after COVID. The County was pushed beyond its capabilities and it failed to distribute the required percentage of funds to the community, which resulted in a $2 million payback to the U.S. Treasury. While one-third of the ERAP funds had been disbursed, efficiency and capacity remained an issue.

Capital Access began providing services to Lackawanna County in March of 2022, including crafting local policy manuals, creating a reporting structure, processing payments, and supplementing the staff to scale capacity. Capital Access also integrated CAPGEMS, our proprietary system to facilitate online applications, disburse funds, and store records.

The collaboration between Capital Access, Lackawanna County, and its community partners, resulted in 227 grants to help households avoid eviction, and helped approximately 2,000 residents. County Commissioner Chris Chermak noted “[Capital Access]…is definitely doing a good job. They are on top of everything.”

In five short months, the county received more than 5200 applications, assisted 2,283 households, and funded more than $11 million in grants – 95 percent of the total grant funds available.

The County received additional funding due to the success of the program and continues to utilize Capital Access and the CAPGEMS system for ongoing expenditures.

Lackawanna County faced a challenge that we see often – limited staff to keep up with capacity. Thankfully, we were able to assist their already well-rounded team, and fill in the gaps. The County managed to expend all applicable funds and assist a number of residents.”
– Capital Access Program Manager Andrea Holak