There are multiple agencies in Durham County North Carolina that provide homeless prevention assistance, or HPRP, to low income families. The non-profits, such as Durham Opening Doors, use grant money from HUD as well as the United Way in an effort to assist. Eviction help is also provided in partnership with legal firms in the county and charity groups, such as the Salvation Army.
There are hundreds of families that face homelessness each and every year in the county. While not every person can be assisted, the non-profits will do their best to offer some form of support. Whether it is money to pay an arrears in rent, utilities, or water bills, or maybe case management, a number of services are provided to the less fortunate. More information on the HPRP program is below.
Assistance for stopping an eviction in Durham County can be issued in one of many ways. They include Emergency Solution Grants from HUD, the local Legal Aid office, referrals to government aid, case management, or even rehousing. Each will have their own specific objective, and often times a tenant is given access to one or more of the programs.
-Rental expenses can be paid using funds from ESG grants. Any money paid is directly to the landlord.
-If there is a dispute or legal issue, staff from Housing for New Hope can direct the family to free legal aid.
-Utility needs, whether for water, cooling or heating costs, can all be paid from LIHEAP or ESG.
-Durham County tenants facing an eviction can apply for public aid, such as from SSI disability or section 8. However this can take money months, and the Department of Social Services in Durham is the best source to contact.
-If the issue is not a crisis, then non-profits may try case management first, before any grants are issued.
Due to limited funding, and the fact that money from Emergency Solution Grants (ESG) will normally run out during the course of a year, many hard decisions need to be made. Not every single tenant facing an eviction can get help. Non-profits such as Durham Opening Doors will need to use their funds wisely.
When applying, it is often helpful to make a case that the emergency is one time only. So bring proof that all rent payments were made on time in the past, and that the reason for being behind in this particular instance is short term. If an applicant has been living beyond their means, or has a history of past homelessness and evictions on their record, then it may be difficult to get help.
Most of the aid in Durham North Carolina will focus on tenants who have done everything possible to increase their income and reduce their expenses. It can be a difficult process to overcome a financial hardship, but the family needs to take these steps in order to apply for a grant.
Durham County Rapid Rehousing Programs – This can help the chronically homeless or residents that were just evicted. Applicants will often need to meet the criteria as set by the HEARTH - Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act. This will mean that the applicant has no stable, long term place to live. Or maybe they are in a motel, sleeping on a couch, or in their car. HEARTH has different criteria, and rehousing may be issued when qualified.
Similar to the eviction prevention programs referenced above that operate in Durham, rehousing also has a few different components. There are services for veterans, the disabled, and single moms among others. Each of them will often have a waiting list in place. They also combine case management as one way to get help.
Shelter Plus Care Program (SCP) – This housing programs assists the disabled, whether from a mental or physical illness.
SSVF – This HUD programs assists veterans. It provides them with eviction prevention, help in applying for VA grants, access to shelter or apartments, and other aid.
ESG grants – Federal government money pays for some of the up front moving and resettlement costs, such as security deposits or a lease application fee.
Senior citizens can often explore supportive accommodations that are run by the Salvation Army or other groups.
Once the homeless prevention process starts, groups such as Housing for New Hope will work with the tenant on stabilizing their living situation. They will review their budget, help with rebuilding credit scores, and gaining long term stability. Other steps are taking as well if needed.
There are a couple numbers to call if either homeless or threatened by it. For referrals in Durham County, dial 919.489.6282. Another intake number is 919-560-4570.
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