Non-profits partner with the city of Augusta to stop homelessness. They use money from the Emergency Solution Grant program as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to prevent evictions as well as rapidly rehouse homeless families.
Several agencies in the community participate in this program. They include the local community action agency (CSRA EOA) as well as the United Way and Antioch Ministries. Free legal defense services can be provide by the Augusta office of Legal Services, and that phone number is (706) 721-2327. Other key partners of the services include the East Augusta Community Development Corporation, Safe Homes, and the Salvation Army.
Any tenant or homeless person applying will need to have an interview done. This is the first step to receiving financial help from a government grant. There will also be a consultation completed to determine if a Richmond County Georgia family is qualified for housing assistance. When possible, this may be money for rental or utility bill arrears, mortgage payments, and even lease application costs.
The funding is limited. There are only certain tenant expenses that will be paid by the Emergency Solution Grant program. Some of them may have to do directly with preventing the eviction (such as rent) while others are related to stabilization, such as credit repair or legal bills. Each application is assessed to determine what, if anything, is covered.
Oftentimes an eviction notice from a landlord can be the result of the utility bills not being paid. The city ordinance in Augusta Georgia allows this to occur, and state of Georgia regulations support this. In those cases, the family may get help in applying for LIHEAP. Or the HUD funding may assist as well. There may be grants for everything from water bills to electricity.
Rental arrears are also part of homeless prevention. This will be the most common request from the community. Provided that the applicant has a source of income, and can pay future rent on their own, the non-profits may provide some short term relief. They will offer money for a partial rent payment to solve the crisis and delay/stop the eviction.
Richmond County/Augusta Legal Services will also assist. Lawyers will offer free support to residents with a pay or quit notice. The ESG grants can pay for any fees that a lawyer may charge, whether for court representation or document review. As while they do try to provide this at no cost, in some cases there may be a small cost involved.
Any low income tenant, whether they are a single mom, senior, or have another situation, needs to meet income requirements. Each agency, such as CSRA, will need proof of this as well. The applicant's circumstances will determine whether they are eligible for aid or not.
Augusta homeless families can also be rehoused. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides several services to address this crisis. There is of course money for security deposits or short term placement into motels, but other basic needs (such as food, clothes for a job, etc.) are also paid.
This type of help will be offered no matter how the person was homeless. Assistance is offered whether they were evicted or lost their home to foreclosure. Some applicants may also be immigrants or women fleeing domestic violence. The Richmond County agencies such as Safe Homes and the Salvation Army will not discriminate based on any conditions, whether race, age, or root cause.
Rehousing will pay for various expenses and services that will stabilize the resident. Housing expenses, such as a deposit to pay the rent or utility costs, are just one example. Just as much, if not more, focus is given to credit repair or budgeting services as well as job training. These skills are critical to a homeless person and will help stop a cycle of evictions or utility disconnects.
For emergency eviction help, or long term stability services that are part of rehousing, dial 706.826.1495. The Richmond County agencies will do their best to meet the needs of all callers and qualified families in the Augusta region.
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