Helping with both housing needs and assisting clients on the path to self-sufficiency, the team at Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Housing Hotline can provide referrals to struggling families. The aid they offer is a combination of their own programs as well as those offered by the federal or state of Tennessee government, such as section 8 vouchers or WIA workforce training.
All aspects of the crisis are addressed. Whether a client has poorly managed their money and therefore can't pay the bills, or maybe they need support from SSI disability as they are ill, case managers from the hotline are available. The goal is to try to help as many struggling families from the Shelby County region as possible, however it is easier said than done due to limited resources.
The purpose of Hotline Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Program is to help individuals and families, whether homeowners or tenants. A focus is on households with children. There is help for people in Shelby County who are becoming homeless. Anyone in need of emergency housing assistance, a shelter or applications to grants for rent or a security deposit is encouraged to call their nearest office to discuss eligibility.
A case manager from the Hotline will go over available housing services and benefits, including, but not limited to, the following. There is support from Eviction and Foreclosure Intervention, Family Development Planning, Winter Shelters, Crisis Counseling, Case Management, and Limited Financial Assistance for rent, a portion of mortgage, security deposits, moving expenses, or utilities. Staff also help with Housing Location and Permanent Housing.
Rehousing is another service available from the hotline. This is for residents that are now working and can afford to pay all of, or a portion, of future housing costs on their own. The Emergency Housing Hotline can refer residents resources below.
Funded through a grant from the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and offered by partners of Shelby County Emergency Housing Hotline such as Legal Aid, the Sub Prime Foreclosure Prevention Services Program provides resources and counseling for qualifying applicants. Along with Legal Aid, other partners include Catholic Charities, the Memphis Community Action Agency, the County of Shelby Continuum of Care and non-profit HUD counseling agencies.
Homelessness can also be solved by employment and education. The federally mandated Workforce Investment Act, or WIA, offers employment and training services across the country as well as the county of Shelby. The non-profit Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Housing Hotline has information on the Workforce Investment Act fiscal agent and other County Commissioners.
The state as well as federal government has established a One-Stop system for service delivery that is coordinated through CareerLink Centers in Memphis Tennessee. There are a total of five groups that have been designated as eligible to participate in Workforce Investment Act services, and these include full-time students aged 14 through 19 years; economically disadvantaged adults; workers who have lost jobs due to businesses closing or downsizing; incumbent workers; and young people aged 19 through 21 who are not attending school.
Offered as part of these CareerLink Centers are some of all of the following. The services are available to individuals meeting qualifications. They include Work Experience (Youth Only), placement into Individualized Training Accounts (ITAs), Basic Computer Instruction, GED and/or Remedial Instruction, Assessment of Skills and Abilities, and the creation of Customized Job Training Activities with local employers.
There is also public housing in Shelby County. Over the years, the hotline has referred income qualified families to single family homes, apartments and duplexes located throughout Shelby County. The organization leases them to low-income residents through the Public Housing Low Rent Assistance Program.
Prospective tenants who reside in Shelby County or Memphis are selected from a waiting list. If anyone is moving to the county, there is a secondary, lower priority waiting list for those who are not County residents. The income guidelines used by the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program are also used by the Public Housing Authorities in Shelby County.
Staff from the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Housing Hotline contracts with a number of local landlords and apartment managers to provide rental units. Together they perform outreach activities, and keep a waiting list for the Rental Housing Support Program. In contrast with the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, this program’s assistance is connected to the particular unit being leased. Therefore, if a tenant moves out, he or she forfeits the assistance, which is then passed on to the next tenant who qualifies and leases that home.
The Housing Authority pays the landlords in Shelby County for subsidized units on a quarterly basis. The rent payment is made, in advance. Records of occupancy for each unit are maintained and reconciled.
As noted, the Shelby County housing hotline is only a referral service with a focus on residents with children. For more information, the number is (901) 260-4663.
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