A network of non-profits across Pierce County Washington both help tenants by offering eviction prevention and also re-house the homeless. The goal is to provide immediate assistance to qualified clients, as none of the providers want a family or individual to be homeless.
The programs available in Tacoma are flexible. Based on an application that needs to be completed, as well as a full interview with a case worker, the tenant will be referred to some type of resource for their specific needs. What is offered to them will be the result of what was discovered during the Progressive Engagement model interview process.
Some of the support may include, but is not limited too, Emergency Solution Grants (ESG) for paying housing costs such as rent or energy bill arrears, landlord/tenant mediation from an attorney, motel vouchers, and/or placement into job training programs. These approaches will rehouse families in as short a period of time as possible. Note the resources vary widely, and some agencies such as Federal Way may offer motel vouchers or other aid and other groups do not. So the homeless prevention in Pierce County varies by location and funding levels.
Referrals and information is usually obtained from the Clear Hotline (https://nwjustice.org/clear-hotline) or United Way 211 service. What will occur is that those tenants with a pay or quit notice (eviction letter) from their landlord can request information on eviction prevention resources and then maybe apply for help. If found to be qualified by interviews done and other factors referenced above, then money may be given to the resident.
HUD, or Housing and Urban Development funding is mostly used to provide this assistance. The exact source of the funds may be Emergency Solution Grants, which helps pay for the entire continuum of housing interventions. Each year some of this funding is provided to the region and is paid out on a first come and served basis to those that are qualified. Once the government funding is gone, then this particular program can't be used by low income families that are facing an eviction.
However, when possible, the Piece County family that is facing a crisis can be provided a small amount of one time rental assistance from a local agency. It can provide them time to address the root cause of the crisis. This also allows the client to access the local services in the region, such as a new or higher paying job, that will help them maintain their home.
The grant based aid is offered at the discretion of a non-profit. They can use the money from this eviction prevention program to pay for motel rooms, offer very short term help for rent arrears, and much more. Some Tacoma Washington agencies use the ESG grants for coordinating legal services in the county. No matter what is offered, any assistance will also be very short term, and the situation will be re-assessed in a few weeks. The aid can stop at any time.
This is a multi-step process that will take into account the client's personal circumstances. It includes everything from motel or hotel vouchers to transitional housing and then final placement into a new, low income apartment or home. The family could be placed into a condo, apartment community, town-home, or even a mobile home. Whatever is available and can be afforded is explored, and the case managers can also rely on the Landlord Liaison Project to find a home.
The non-profits in Tacoma Washington want to permanently rehouse formerly evicted families. Since it is meant for long term stability, ongoing advice and support is given to the tenant. The process has a financial component to it (for rent, deposits, and utility hook up costs) as well as non-monetary (including credit repair, employment, and legal support).
Only an applicant that was been screened will be considered. This process will involve an assessment of their income, ability to sustain the home on their own, and other factors. There is also priority given to formerly evicted families with children, veterans, and senior citizens who are homeless or at imminent risk of it.
There are also housing units for residents with an eviction on their record and who are more at risk if they are homeless. This includes the disabled, who may be qualified for apartments as part of Housing with Supportive Services. Two other preventative services are for veterans (SSVF - Supportive Services for Veteran Families) as well as supportive housing for senior citizens.
Whether someone is struggling to pay the rent to their landlord, or is homeless in Pierce County, for referrals call the CLEAR Hotline: https://nwjustice.org/clear-hotline or try the United Way 211 service.
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