There are several agencies in Leon County that administer homeless prevention services. There is support for low income tenants as well as eviction help for those that are facing a short term emergency. Another use of HPRP grants in Tallahassee is for rapid rehousing, and in these cases assistance will help people move into a new home or apartment.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides grants to agencies in the county known as sub-recipients. In turn those groups, such as Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida and the Capital Area Community Action Agency, screen applications from tenants as well as the homeless. Based on this assessment, there may be financial help for paying arrears on rent, electric or water bills, and much more.
There are several non-profits that provide support. All families should seek advice from one of these groups before they have a formal eviction notice. If they wait until a landlord notifies them, then this will need to go through the crisis process.
The solutions available include mediation, Housing and Urban Development grants, specialized resources such as Supportive Services For Veteran Families (SSVF), and legal intervention. Another way to stop homelessness in Leon County, which is used as a last resort, is to move the family using the rehousing programs below. However that is a last resort.
The organizations that are involved, such as the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, will provide help provided they have funds and the applicant meets the terms and conditions in place. Some of them include the tenant needs to participate in case management and be able to afford future rental costs on their own. Any aid is short term only and requires active participation from the family.
When money is available from Housing and Urban Development ESG grants, it will help with expenses that need to be paid to keep the resident housed. There may be a few hundred dollars for water or electric bills as well as rent. Any money paid out for housing needs is a last resort, and will be paid directly to the landlord or vendor that is owed.
The other solutions, including Supportive Services For Veteran Families in Tallahassee, will prevent homelessness for military members only and their families. Mediation is used from attorneys or independent parties that try to have all parties come to some solution other than an eviction. There are also eviction prevention programs for the disabled such as Shelter + Care and much more.
The homeless, people that have been evicted, domestic violence victims, individuals leaving a hospital, and other scenarios are covered as part of Rapid Rehousing. Leon County agencies, including Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, will try to get people into a stable living situation.
When needed, a shelter is used for the short term. Or if the applicant has an income and is otherwise stable, it may be possible to move them directly into a permanent home. When this is done, HUD grants can help pay for the security deposit that is due. Or if those options are not relevant, then other tools including transitional housing or even placement into a motel can be explored.
Rehousing will always require enrollment into case management. The process may last several months or even over a year. Case workers will visit the tenant, ensure they have the furniture and household supplies they need, and ensure the cycle of homeless and poverty comes to an end.
A place for referrals on other eviction assistance programs includes the Capital Area Community Action. This private, non-profit agency has databases on grants, programs to apply to such as LIHEAP, and partnerships with local attorneys in the city of Tallahassee that offer legal defense services. This form of outreach can be very effective in ending homelessness in the community.
There are several non-profits that can help tenants with a vacate notice from their landlord. Capital Area Community Action can be reached at (850) 222-2043. The Big Bend Coalition is based in Tallahassee, and this non-profit can be a source of information on rehousing and eviction prevention as well. Their number is (850) 576-5566.
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