Homeless and eviction prevention is available in the greater Allegheny County area. Several non-profit agencies, along with the Department of Human Services, administer these resources for low income tenants as well as the currently homeless. Find more information on the two options, including Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) as well as the Shelter Allowance (ESA) programs.
There are a few agencies that run these programs locally on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as the County of Allegheny. Examples include Mercy Center as well as the Urban League of Pittsburgh. But others may also participate from time to time.
Each year the non-profits need to apply for the grant programs and there may be some funding allocated to them. However the money goes quickly. Most of the grants are given to families facing an eviction on a first come-served basis, however there are never any guarantees to receiving support.
When allocated by the federal government to Allegheny County, each recipient decides what services to provide. Some will use ESG in order to stop evictions. Other agencies in the Pittsburgh region will provide legal aid, shelter, or rapid rehousing. So no two non-profits will tend to offer the same type of support. But each will usually have referrals readily available if and when needed.
What ESG may provide around housing resources is as follows. As noted, each agency is different. For example, the Allegheny County Council to Improve our Neighborhoods (which has participated in the past) provides Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing, or HPRP. Other used of the money may below:
Therefore the Emergency Solutions Grants in Allegheny County allow for a diverse amount of financial aid to be paid out to qualified, low income tenants. While the grants for paying for arrears on rent or utilities to stop an eviction are difficult to get, it may very well be likely for the applicant to be given access to case management instead.
This particular program is strictly run by the Department of Human Services. It is available in towns across the county as well as the city of Pittsburgh. This too is another resource used to pro-actively prevent homelessness in the community.
One of the advantages to ESA is that it helps both struggling tenants and homeowners as well. So it can be used to prevent homelessness that may be the result of a foreclosure as well as a landlord eviction. The Emergency Shelter Allowance program in Allegheny County also provides for rehousing, so it can move someone from a shelter or transitional home into a new apartment.
When applying, residents should have a copy of their monthly budget, income statements, proof of hardship, and identification easily available. This is needed for all household members. The grants available for financial needs, such as rent to stop an eviction, will be issued to people who qualify, provided they have the ability to sustain the housing costs on their own in the future.
Emergency Shelter Allowance will also help people find a place to live. This includes rehousing the homeless, or moving a family that now lives in an unaffordable home due to a change in their circumstances. In these cases, when eligible, Human services may issue funds for the security or utility deposit. They will also help on locating a new home, or moving the family into a shelter or motel if those are better short term solutions.
Allegheny County agencies as well as Department of Human Services all provide this help as short term relief. This are not entitlement services but are meant to help in an emergency. For more information on these homeless prevention programs, or other services, call for referrals. DHS is at 800-692-7462, the Council to Improve Neighborhoods has a number of (412) 824-2444, Mercy Life Center can be reached at (412) 323-4500, and eviction help can be obtained from the Urban League at (412) 829-7172.
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