The non-profit, HUD certified Housing and Redevelopment Authority of St. Cloud provides support in an effort to stop homelessness in the Stearns County area. The agency administers numerous services for both tenants and homeowners, as well as people seeking to buy a home in the region. Some of the most in demand resources are Bridges/ Ending Long Term Homelessness Initiative Fund (ELHIF), section 8 HUD vouchers as well as counseling and advice. There are also referrals to transitional housing as well as ongoing case management services.
Lower to moderate income persons looking to buy a home in the community can receive assistance. There are workshops and classes organized by non-profit credit counselors on saving money and budgeting, all with the goal of helping the client gain the knowledge and financial means to buy.
Counselors can review mortgage terms with buyers, and help them find affordable financing and also avoid scams. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority is involved in encouraging ownership in the community.
Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is for very low income households or people looking to rent. There will be one time financial assistance available for residents of St. Cloud to lease existing rental units from private property owners. Any home or apartment selected must be at rental rates within the HUD published Fair Market Rents guidelines, and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority will enforce this.
Families on section 8, that are looking to buy, can explore the Homeownership Voucher Program. This was created in the state of Minnesota and nationwide as a Federally funded program managed by the Housing Authority of St. Cloud. It can help qualified, low income families transition from rental housing to homeownership. The support is only for potential first time homebuyers who can qualify for a mortgage. They also need to reside in the home being purchased as the principal residence.
Free Foreclosure Legal Assistance is available in Stearns County in partnership with pro-bono law firms. People that are behind can get help on a wide range of topics including debt cancellation, avoiding foreclosure, exploring loan options, and finding legal assistance. Much of this is coordinated with HUD Approved Housing Counselors in the community. Also, there are resource centers at the main office that will provide consumer information about money basics, credit counseling, and tips on owning versus renting.
Housing and Redevelopment Authority of St. Cloud runs the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA). The goal is to provide subsidized rental housing assistance in connection with case management or supportive services. The assistance is for formerly homeless persons or other very low income people that are in need of safe and affordable housing. Using federal funds, Housing and Redevelopment Authority can assist with utilities, rent, security and utility deposits for qualified participants.
Almost all clients received section 8 or receiving any type of financial aid will need to enroll into the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. This will help qualified families in becoming economically self-sufficient members of the community. There are several components of it, and they include GED preparation, educational assessment, and academic remediation. There may even be some grants arranged by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority as well, and those will be for reimbursement for job related expenses or even a small amount of gasoline assistance and minor car repairs.
There may be emergency financial assistance provided for rent or home repairs for seniors or the disabled. The main resources available in the region, from referrals, include the following.
ELHIF, or the Bridges/ Ending Long Term Homelessness Initiative Fund, is a form of eviction prevention. For those that are currently without a home to live in Stearns County, then this can be used to rehouse them as well. Staff from the agency will provide information to the family on grants and other solutions for their housing needs.
Transitional Housing comes in many forms, ranging from shelter to the Supportive Housing. These were created to serve homeless persons and those looking to gain self-sufficiency. The purpose is to provide supportive housing to enable them to live as independently as possible.
This short term housing is often targeted at certain groups, such as veterans or there are local apartments for seniors that also offer home care. Anyone staying in a shelter or unit will have access to meals as well as other guidance from staff.
A strict focus is on meeting housing needs. In these cases, the Authority can be contacted. The main office is at 1225 W Saint Germain St., St. Cloud, Minnesota, 56301.
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