The Office of Supportive Housing in Philadelphia as well as the Housing Trust Fund work together in an effort to administer the Philadelphia Homelessness Prevention Program. It is made up of several different components that are focused on preventing evictions, rehousing those that are currently without a place to live, facilitate shelter, and other support. Aid, financial support, and referrals all may be offered to keeping individuals and families in their homes or apartment and/or help them move into a new home.
A continuum of ongoing care and support is available as part of this service. This means that clients of Office of Supportive Housing (OHS) can receive financial assistance to pay for their rent or security deposit, outreach, and various forms of other supportive services. All of this, and more, is offered to those facing eviction or residents of Philadelphia that are currently homeless.
Over the years, Housing Trust Fund resources and grants have prevented thousands of families, children, and seniors from becoming homeless. Not only does this benefit the family, but it also helps the city save money as they will no longer have to pay for shelter services and other benefits to support those living on the street. Providing a limited amount of cash assistance up front for paying back rent or other expenses is a much more pro-active and efficient approach to take. The main resources from the city are as follows.
The Homeless Diversion Program is available from time to time. It will offer a subsidy towards a client’s rental costs. Not only that, but the case manager that is part of the Homeless Prevention program will work with the client to assist them in finding stable employment, improving their financial conditions and procuring stable, low income housing in Philadelphia.
Oftentimes upon completion of the program, most participants of the Diversion Service either sign a lease with the landlord or apartment community to whom they are assigned. Or many others were successful in finding their own, permanent housing in the region.
Eviction prevention is part of the Housing Retention Program. This is the component that will offer emergency financial assistance for low-income households. Depending on funding levels and other conditions, they may qualify for a grant from OHS to pay a utility bill to prevent a disconnection or to pay rent. Some clients may be provided a loan for these housing expenses. Some assistance may even be available for a partial mortgage payment.
Direct Rental Assistance may be available in Philadelphia from the Trust Fund. The government program may support those that are existing transitional housing and they may receive help for up to three years. This may even include assistance to pay a security deposit.
Clients will need to pay a portion of their rent throughout the three year period. Their monthly obligation will also increase each and every month.
The Utility Arrearage Assistance Program from Office of Supportive Housing is for those living in low income transitional housing. Funds may be used to help them pay with arreage on their account, including heating, electricity, or maybe even water bills. The funds will be focused on them finding and moving into a more stable situation.
The disabled, chronically homeless, or mentally ill in Philadelphia can receive shelter or rehousing assistance from the Trust Fund as well. Government grants and resources subsidize a portion of the rents of those that qualify. Proactive homeless prevention is also part of this so called housing first.
Teams that are part of the Office of Supportive Housing and the Pathways to Housing service will reach out to support people living on the street. Among other things, the teams will help them to move into privately owned, sometimes government subsidized rental housing.
Other support includes Housing Retention, which is a form of mortgage assistance or counseling to households in targeted Philadelphia zip codes. Assistance will help them resolve an immediate housing crisis and hopefully prevent homelessness.
Transitional Housing from the Office of Supportive Housing is for households that are existing a shelter or homeless and that are on their way towards self-sufficiency. The city will offer them access semi-independent living in home or apartments for maybe up to two years. Various non-profits help with this.
For more information, call the Office of Supportive Housing. The office is at 1401 JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia and the number is 215-686-7147.
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