The homeless and eviction prevention program in Cameron County can provide emergency assistance to low to moderate income tenants that have a crisis situation to resolve. The program known as HPRP is offered as a last resort, and a combination of grants, legal aid, and security deposit assistance may all be provided to struggling Brownsville families.
The financial assistance from homeless prevention is provided as a last resort only. Federal government grants can be used to pay arrears on direct housing costs, namely rent or security deposits. Another use of the eviction programs are for utility bills, ranging from heating during the winter months to water as well as electricity bills.
Another key criteria to getting assistance in Cameron County Texas is that the crisis needs to be short term in nature. So examples of who may be assisted may be a tenant that had a loss of employment (or cut back in hours) but has a new job lined up to start in the future. Income conditions are also in place, including grants are given to households with an income of no more than 100% of HUD criteria.
HPRP will not assist the chronically homeless or people with long term struggles, such as the mentally ill that have repeated evictions or substance abusers in Brownsville. In these cases, the applicant needs to go through long term case management first in an effort to gain the stability they need.
When financial aid is paid out from agencies such as the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, it is limited and temporary in nature. The grants available in Brownsville will only stabilize the tenant situation. Maybe it will pay a portion of any rental arrears or utility costs, and the family will need to come up with the balance of what is due on their own. Also, the help will only last for one month, and if all goals are met, it may be extended week to week.
There are limits in place too. The Cameron County homeless prevention program will only last for at most 18 months. Even to be able to get help for that period of time is rare. But that is the maximum amount of time aid is given, no matter what. That 18 months is more than enough time for any family to stabilize their living situation.
There are additional services provided in the community though. Non-profits such as the Salvation Army will help more unique cases, such as women fleeing domestic violence or single moms. The homeless prevention services provided in these situations will generally combine housing along with other support needs for their children, such as clothing and food. The parent may also of course apply for a emergency money from the grant programs referenced above as well.
The homeless in the Brownsville area can get help, if they have proved that their living and financial situation is stable. Similar to above, any financial help for paying for a motel room, security deposit, or moving costs is provided on a month to month basis. Once the formerly homeless person continues to prove their are stable, then HPRP may be extended.
Each and every one of these programs will have long term case management given too. This is required as the one and only way to stop the cycle of homelessness is to address employment as well as budgeting. Tenants need to have the skills and knowledge for how to manage their money so they can both afford their rent and pay it on time each month.
As far as other rehousing and eviction programs in the county, call Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley at 956-541-0220. A case manager will screen the applicant to ensure they meet the criteria in place. If not qualified for the homeless prevention programs, then referrals are given to other non-profits or government agencies in Cameron County.
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