One of the purposes of eviction prevention in San Diego County is to provide emergency assistance to low income tenants as well as people who are at risk of becoming homeless. There is support for households with children, single moms, seniors, and even residents without children if one of the occupants is temporarily or permanently disabled. The programs offer clients a number of options.
The money to pay for this service is mostly from Emergency Solution Grants, or ESG. This is administered nationally by the Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD) and applications are taken locally in San Diego by non-profits such as the Community Resource Center.
The intake process is done at the local non-profit offices. In order to qualify for a grant for rental arrears or legal aid to stop an eviction, each agency has their own criteria. They may include, but are not limited too, the following.
At any time the funding available can run out. But the referral service will still try to direct the interested party to another local resource for paying security deposits or back rent. They will always do their best to provide assistance if at all possible.
Another use of the eviction prevention program is for paying utility bills of all types. The courts as well as local municipal offices will declare a home without water or electricity as uninhabitable to reside in. Or many landlords will require that utilities be paid on time is order to continue to legally lease the property. So if the tenant has an eviction notice due to unpaid utility or water bills, the ESG grants can help bring some of those arrears current.
ESG grants are for tenants threatened with an eviction who are in high need for housing. There may be money available for tenants or the homeless, and the funds are for individuals. Any funding paid out for rent or a deposit will be based on their poverty and/or employment status. In general, HUD funds are only as a last resort for those with a source of employment.
If someone is now currently homeless, Rapid-Rehousing is also available. This was envisioned by HUD to either replace or reduce the usage of shelters. Instead it relies on placing the family as quickly as possible into a new home along with providing them ongoing support services.
To make this successful, grants from ESG are used to pay for credit repair classes, lease application fees, and security deposits. Lawyers from San Diego County will also provide legal aid so that the tenant understands their rights when leasing an apartment. If the individual is not immediately ready to move, then storage fees can be paid for a very short period of time. Similar to some of these other eviction assistance programs, each agency will decide on their own how to most effectively use this money.
San Diego County administering agencies also coordinate case management as part of Emergency Solution Grants. This combines providing information on child care for single parents to general job training/placement. The intent is that over time the client will be able to increase their income and learn how to budget more properly, thereby increasing their ability to pay for their own housing without a subsidy. This form of support is used to break the cycle of poverty and/or homelessness.
Some of the agencies in San Diego County, such as Interfaith Shelter Network, may provide motel vouchers. This too will be a last resort. When available, it is generally restricted to when all of the local overnight shelters are full. Or maybe the waiting list for a transitional housing unit are way backed up.
There may also be free motel or hotel vouchers for currently homeless individuals. This is for when they have a serious medical issue that would be made worse if they do not have a place to stay. So it is targeted at clients that may otherwise be facing a health or safety crisis. This can also often help those being discharged from a local hospital.
The homeless prevention and rehousing programs are time limited. Currently, every year the needs of the greater San Diego County are reassessed. If taxpayer dollars allow it, and there is a need, then additional funding may be given to the region for stopping evictions of income qualified families. Call one of fore agencies for information. They include Interfaith Shelter Network at (619) 702-5399, South Bay Community Services (phone (619) 420-3620), the Housing Authority (dial (877) 478-5478) or the San Diego Community Resource Center at (760) 753-1156.
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