Federal government grants are provided to Mobile County and the funds are used to pay for homeless prevention and rapid rehousing services in the region. There are several agencies involved in the program and each of them has their own funding and application process. Whether a tenant is threatened by an eviction, or if they are already homeless and need a place to live, then assistance may be provided.
The funds to pay for these eviction prevention programs come from a few different sources. They include the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), Continuum of Care Program (CoC), the regional Community Housing Program, as well as Emergency Food and Shelter. So residents of Mobile have a few different options available to them.
The terms and conditions of each program also vary as well as what they focus on. Some of the resources may provide money to pay rental arrears and others can help pay a security or utility connection deposit. Some of the HUD services focus on the currently homeless, and they may offer free motel vouchers, transitional housing, or other accommodations.
The latest is the United States Department of Housing Emergency Solution Grant. This, like the others, is allocated annually to agencies in the county, such as Housing First or Loaves and Fishes. Any funds available are paid out on a first come-served basis, with only a select number of families or individuals able to be assisted each year.
This program provides homelessness prevention assistance to Mobile County households. The assistance, including legal advice or money for rent/utility bills, is for individuals who would otherwise become homeless without any type of support.
Emergency Solution Grants are widely available, but it will give priority to certain situations. First of all, this eviction prevention program is for a crisis only. There will not be support for individuals with a chronic history of evictions or foreclosures or for those that live beyond their means. Also, the homeless assistance program will focus any grants on seniors, the disabled, and even single moms. Note the applicant will always need a source of income.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families, or SSVF, is for veterans and their families in Mobile County. The homeless prevention and rehousing program is used to increase the housing stability of people that have served out nation. It even supports the currently homeless by providing motel vouchers or placing the veteran into a shelter.
SSVF provides a few forms of assistance. They include job readiness and employment services, loans or grants for veterans to help them acquire or pay the back rent on permanent housing, and there is also guidance given to the veteran around obtaining VA or other public benefits. All participants are also registered for case management, Financial Literacy classes, they also learn about Tenant Rights, state of Alabama laws, and their Responsibilities.
The Mobile County Continuum of Care is the name given to a consortium of charities and agencies that focus on stopping eviction, foreclosure, and dealing with various housing issues. There are numerous groups that participate, such as Loaves and Fishes, Catholic Charities, and Housing First among others. The group takes a pro-active approach in advocating for the homeless as well as struggling families.
The Mobile County Community Housing Program is run by Housing First. It will only help the disabled that are also homeless. It helps the client with placement into a new home or apartment, and services also help sustain their future accommodations. While financial aid for paying expenses such as a deposit may be offered, the main emphasis is around case management. Clients are given Life Skills, transportation, and other support all in an effort to stop future evictions.
The last option for stopping homelessness is EFSP, or Emergency Food and Shelter. This is also paid for by the federal government, but funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It not only can provide a grant for everything from a mortgage to rent or water bills, but there is also food, accommodations in a shelter or hotel, and other aid given.
For more information on any rapid housing or homeless prevention programs in Mobile, dial agencies such as Housing First at 251.450.3345, Loaves and Fishes at (512) 328-7299, or even Catholic Charities at (251) 434-1500. Referrals are often given by these or other agencies.
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