Homelessness prevention services come in many different forms. There is eviction help for Ramsey County families with children, including single mothers. Adults can also apply for rapid rehousing programs, which will help move the family or individual into a new, affordable home or apartment. The resources are focused on ending homelessness in St. Paul Minnesota and throughout the county.
Some of the agencies that administer these programs in Ramsey County, such as Catholic Charities or United Way affiliated non-profits, may also have limited funding for paying emergency expenses. The HPRP program may be able to provide an applicant that has minor children with a cash grant for paying costs such as rental arrears or energy bills if they could lead to an eviction. Or the administering non-profits may refer an applicant to the St. Paul Legal Aid Society for representation from an attorney.
Most organizations wish they could help everyone that is either homeless, or threatened with it. However this is not always possible if the tenant is too far behind on their housing costs. In those instances, the Ramsey County homeless prevention programs will try to rehouse the resident into a shelter or even a motel for a night or two. Agencies will then help the family move.
Short and long term homelessness as well as evictions can be addressed. The first goal is to always prevent the eviction from occurring. This will help with short term, emergency needs. What may be used for this includes money from the Housing and Urban Development, legal aid from a pro-bono law firm, or Ramsey County Continuum of Care.
The HPRP housing programs will require full participation from the client, including they need to have a source of income, participate in budgeting and job training programs, and also contribute to a portion of what they owe the landlord. Eviction prevention is also strongly dependent on the families income, so they need to have one.
When qualified, government funds can be used to pay for back rent or utility bills that are due. This includes everything from heating costs to water bills. Money is only issued as a last resort, and normally the eviction programs will try to negotiate a payment plan with the landlord first. Or they will explore other solutions from companies such as Xcel Energy.
Emergency eviction programs can also support St. Paul residents that are on General Assistance or that live on a fixed income from Social Security. Tenants with a disability, senior citizens and parents with children are often given priority for this service as well. Many situation are resolved using tenant/landlord mediation from a lawyer, but financial aid may be used too.
Street Outreach is also used. This will be for those residents that are currently homeless. It covers people that may be living in a motel, in a car or shelter, or even on the couch of a family member. Non-profits that offer this outreach, such as Kateri Residence for Native Americans or Simpson Shelter, will not only offer short term housing, but also food or hygiene items. Outreach can direct the individual to motel voucher programs and more. This phone number is 1-888-550-7624.
St. Paul Rapid Re-Housing – This program will help families, or even single adults or children, move from Ramsey County shelters or motels to affordable housing. An agency that works closely on this is Catholic Charities, and their Housing First program. This supports people that have been homeless for less than one year, so this includes recent evictions as well. It combines emergency support along with applications to public aid, such as veteran benefits, Social Security, furniture programs, and more.
A case manager will work with the client as well as landlords of private housing. So it operates as a partnership that will not only support the family, but help them pay for expenses such as a security deposit on the new apartment. Highly trained Housing First staff from Catholic Charities will also be a liaison between tenants and the landlord to work with them to prevent a future eviction from occurring. The advice provided by the staff is ongoing and will last up to 6 months.
For information on these, or other homeless prevention programs in the Ramsey County area, dial 651-225-9355 for information. Residents can even learn about security or utility deposit resources. Or tenants threatened with an eviction can call 651-225-9354.
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