Finding safe, secure, affordable housing for low-income members of Dane County is one of the main goals at Porchlight. These various supportive services, such as the Hospitality House and eviction prevention grants from DIGS, are available for clients who are either currently homeless or at risk of becoming evicted or losing their home to a foreclosure.
While always in high demand, financial assistance is very limited. There may more likely be offered supportive services to disadvantaged members of the community who are in the midst of a housing crisis. This type of support available at the Hospitality House center ranges from referrals to application to government grants or benefits.
Struggling individuals and families often experience a series of events that extend beyond their means and circumstances which leads to a housing crisis or homelessness. Resolution to this type of situation may not occur without supportive services from charities such as Porchlight as well as others in the community.
To address this crisis, support staff work from the Hospitality House with individuals in a variety of ways. They offer everything from personal hygiene items to providing information, referrals, advocacy and case management. If someone from Dane County needs ID or applications to benefits, then the Porchlight Hospitality House can help with that as well.
For clients on the verge of becoming homeless, staff work to find the best resources and action plans, including the possibility of financial aid for a rent or deposit payment. The Porchlight DIGS program, or Dwelling Intervention Grants & Sustenance, is the main resource for this.
A Program Coordinator can refer the tenant to grants for their rent or free legal aid. Any support will require the client to contribute money and agree to a variety of development steps. This service is run in partnership with St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Porchlight can refer families impacted by AIDs/HIV to the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA). This is a federal program that provides long-term financial assistance for paying rent and other expenses, such as medical bills. The program is similar to Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8), however, the clientele it serves are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
Through HOPWA, residents in Dane County Wisconsin pay either up to 30% of an adjusted income or 10% of gross income for their rent and energy bills, whichever scenario is monetarily higher. The HUD sponsored program covers the rest of their payment. Please note, there is a waitlist for HOPWA in Madison.
The Porchlight supported Transitional Housing Program as well as emergency shelter is a mid term solution in Dane County. Agencies across the region own and runs transitional houses. Most of the accommodations are focused on clients who are single, homeless mothers.
These struggling individuals will receive emergency shelter will they wait for transitional housing to open up. They will also be given access to a laundry, hot meals, and personal goods. Interested parties must call for an intake and assessment session.
For eligible, low-income homeowners who meet predetermined income requirements, Porchlight has information on a Housing Rehabilitation program that helps shoulder the burden of much needed home repairs. These necessary updates will bring their homes or condominiums in Dane County up to code and address various health, safety, cleanliness and handicap accessibility issues in a substandard property.
This greatly improves the living conditions of these disadvantaged residents in Madison. It also oftentimes, makes the home more energy efficient, as weatherization (see below) may be rolled into this service. This, in turn, reduces the cost of heating and cooling bills. Certain restrictions may apply if the home is later sold or transferred in ownership. Purely cosmetic repairs are not included in this home rehabilitation program.
Porchlight offers help to those struggling with housing and they also administer a documented refugee resettlement program. It addresses all steps needed by these individuals. There will be information on low income housing, help for moving them and support to acclimate families to their new environment and find gainful employment in Madison Wisconsin. These services provide a safety net for refugees as well as immigrants to ensure they meet their most basic survival needs such as having food, safety and shelter.
Struggling immigrants as well as refugees in Dane County have lost the security and protection of their homeland government and Porchlight works to provide that during their time of transition. These individuals are also provided access to various resources to help them become self-sufficient such as the following. There may be basic healthcare, English language training, financial assistance, transportation, education, employment and community services. The goal is to help refugees become independent within a 3 to 6 month time period.
The Weatherization Assistance Program from partners of Porchlight is available to qualified, low income clients to help them reduce their heating bills and improve the energy efficiency of their home. Audits and assessments are done on each participating residence to best determine which energy efficient measures will be the most helpful and effective.
Federal government grants pay for the updates, so the work is free to families. The main goal of the Weatherization Assistance program is to help these low income households conserve energy while maintaining their health and safety. Funding for this program comes from the DOE.
Porchligt operates at 1490 Martin St., Madison, Wisconsin 53713. The main number for information on housing services is (608) 252-8522.
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