Human Services Office. The federal government funded programs try to stabilize the families living situation by addressing the housing crisis they are facing.
Eviction help can provide the applicant with short term financial aid in the form of grants for paying certain living expenses. Clients, whether they currently rent a home or if they are homeless, can also enroll into various case management services which will also help them gain stability. For more information on homeless prevention services, one leading, government affiliated agency to contact is the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center.
Emergency assistance is only provided to applicants with a total household income that is 50 percent or less of the area median in Palm Beach. Also, the family needs to be out of resources and have lived within their means. Priority for any eviction or rehousing program is for applicants that have done everything they can to address a financial hardship that they have but have just run out of options.
Palm Beach agencies can also offer eviction help for some residents that are under a so called special hardship. If a tenant has a sudden and significant loss of income (from unemployment or a reduction in work hours) or if the landlord is evicting them due to a pending foreclosure of their rental housing, this may qualify them as well. If the property is no longer meant for human habitation, or if the landlord has raised their rent so it will now cost them greater than 50 percent of income for housing costs, then a grant may be issued to those clients as well.
ESG grants may be provided to help pay for some or all of the housing costs for those individuals with a pay or quit notice. The exact use of the money issued will be decided by the charity issuing the funds, or the Palm Beach Human Services Offices is they authorize the funds. Also, any grant is issued directly to the landlord or utility company and not the family that is applying for help.
Money may be issued for paying some of past due utility expenses. Homelessness can be caused by electricity, water, or gas being shut off. So the eviction program can help pay those utility bills, even water costs in some cases.
The most common use of a grant is for paying rent though. With the high (and increasing cost) of apartments, condos, and townhouses in the region, some tenants fall into arrears on occasion. This often happens when they have an emergency. Therefore back rent can be paid. Partners such as the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center will also give priority to everyone from single moms to senior citizens as well as immigrants in the Palm Beach County area.
Assistance for families living in or near poverty to stop the eviction may also involve the support of an attorney. There are nationally run legal aid programs that offer advice at no cost to income qualified tenants. Once of the prime goals of this will always be on housing issues. Therefore legal assistance can offer advice on applying for section 8 housing benefits, lawyers can contest illegal evictions, or deal with housing that is in disrepair.
When the eviction can't be stopped, or if a resident is already homeless, they can try to apply for rapid rehousing. Participants of this service can't have any other housing options available to them, including friends, family, or relatives. Enrollment may be for the short as well as chronically homeless in the community.
An increasing number of senior citizens live in Palm Beach County as well as individuals that live on a fixed income, such as SSI or a pension. They often struggle to keep up with their monthly rent and utility bills on their home. Rehousing can also be used to resettle them into a more affordable apartment, or maybe even a supportive housing unit.
In an emergency, such as women fleeing domestic violence, someone impacted by a natural disaster, or the just recently evicted, they can be given a free motel voucher. This will pay for accommodations for a night or two until a shelter frees up in the community. The availability of the resources from the motel program is rare though.
Most critical to rehousing is providing the future renter with the skills and employment they need for long term stability. This is often a major barrier to success, and it needs to be tackled to prevent subsequent evictions. Case managers from Human Services Offices in Palm Beach County will partner with the client on this.
When ready to move, and when the case management goals have been met, grants can be used to help with the moving costs for the new home. There may be HUD money issued for security as well as utility deposits or first months rent. Other costs may also be paid as part of Palm Beach Rapid Rehousing.
For more information on the eviction assistance programs, or to learn about how to move or be resettled into a new, affordable home in Palm Beach County, dial the center at 561-904-7900 for referrals. Or try a local Human Services office, and there are sites in Delray Beach, West Palm, and other communities.
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