Homeless prevention programs in Forsyth County North Carolina focus on two major issues. They first try to pro-actively stop evictions of struggling tenants. The other service available in the city of Winston Salem is rapid rehousing, and this is when government money and case management will place families into affordable housing.
The programs do rely on United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. On an annual basis the federal government will allocate money to non-profits and even churches in Forsyth County. These agencies will then take applications from the homeless, people seeking security deposit help, or those tenants that are in arrears on their rent or energy bills. If qualified, a solution such as those below will be given.
Any type of cash grant will only be for those applicants with a source of income and that can prove they are now financially stable. The source of income would ideally be from a job, but exceptions can be made as well. Therefore the Forsyth County tenants that is threatened with an eviction can have income from SSI disability, a pension, or another benefit.
The income is required as any rental arrears assistance is one time only and for solving a crisis. The money comes from Emergency Solution Grants (ESG) and it can pay a portion of housing costs or utility/water bills. The tenant needs their own source of adequate household income so they can pay all future bills on their own. As it would not be an effective use of government resources to help a tenant avoid an eviction if they would just be sent another pay or quit notice the following month.
ESG grants and the agencies that provide them also provide case management services. Since the Housing and Urban Development funding often runs out very quickly, the non-profits will still try to help stop the eviction. Or they also provide ongoing guidance even after a grant has been paid out.
This type of support will include providing the family information on local job placement programs so they can increase their income. There is also legal aid for housing issues (including evictions and disputes over security deposits) from law firms in Winston Salem. Lastly, a family living in poverty can also be referred to many other public aid programs, ranging from section 8 HUD vouchers to LIHEAP for paying their heating or utility bills. Tenants in the Forsyth County region can avail themselves of these programs too.
The long term homeless, as well as tenants that were not able to prevent their eviction, can apply for this program. Other clients may be a victim of domestic violence or immigrants that are new to the area. Single mothers in Forsyth County that are seeking a home to keep their family together also often benefit from rehousing.
Similar to above, there will be support granted to low to moderate income families that now have a source of employment/income. The main intent of rapid rehousing is to help the family overcome the expensive up front costs for moving into a new home, and from that point on the tenants that is placed needs to pay their rent and bills on their own. So when a prospective tenant needs assistance in coming up with the cash for a security deposit, application fees, moving, and related expenses, this is the intent of the program.
When someone is not qualified for help, or if the rehousing program is filled to capacity, then the client may be placed into a shelter or transitional housing program in Winston Salem. When that is not an option as maybe those are filled, then hotel or motel vouchers may be provided. The shelters are for the homeless and can be turned to in an emergency. On the other hand, transitional housing is for recently evicted residents, but this is also offers job placement, training, credit counseling, and more.
When possible, rapid rehousing will try to keep the family or individual from being homeless for as short a period of time as possible. This type of support is not only for low income families that were just evicted, but also for people living on the streets, in motels, or that may be “couch” hopping. It also coordinates ongoing eviction prevention to keep the safe and secure over the long term.
To learn more on these various homeless prevention programs in Forsyth County, dial 404-614-1000. Referrals will be given to local non-profits or charities.
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