A number of agencies offer eviction prevention resources in San Francisco. They rely on grants from the Human Services Agency as well as Housing and Urban Development to offer this service to families that are struggling. There are also programs that try to rapidly rehouse homeless families into affordable homes in the city or county of San Francisco. Together these services are known as HPRP.
Most of the resources are focused on tenants that are facing a short term crisis. Due to the very high cost of living in the county, if a tenant has a traumatic life event, such as a health issue, death of a primary care provider or spouse, then it is easy to fall behind on the monthly rent. Too many landlords will not hesitate to issue a pay or quit notice.
However there may also be help arranged for those that are living in housing that has been condemned or is not fit for habitation. There are eviction assistance programs for veterans that are leaving military service or single moms with young children. There is also support for the disabled that are facing an eviction, and this is known in San Francisco as the Shelter Plus Care program.
The eligibility criteria for eviction help vary by agency. Some, such as the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, focus on single adults. However other charities in the county will have their own terms and conditions in place. There may be homeless prevention services (or HPRP) for the mentally ill, single parents, veterans, women fleeing domestic violence, and others. If one non-profit does not exist then they may refer the resident to another local charity for help.
When it comes to issuing money for rent or energy bill arrears or other housing expenses, or providing legal aid, some of the general guidelines may be as follows. However as noted every San Francisco agency that works to stop evictions has their own terms in place. In general, some or all of the following need to be met.
With the county of housing so high in the city of San Francisco, the tenant must be over the age of 18 and also not be paying less than 50% of their total household income (including Cal Fresh food stamps) towards their monthly rent expense. Also, they need to have a total income based on 30% - 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and live in a home in which the total costs do not exceed 85% of total household monthly income.
When qualified, the non-profit may offer financial help. This is often first come and served and depends of funding levels and other factors. Note that some agencies, such as the Hamilton Family Center, in San Francisco may issue a non-interest loan to the applicant.
The money for stopping an eviction can be used for short to medium term rental assistance. Another focus on Human Services Agency funds is on ensuring the tenant becomes stable, so the non-profit may pay for legal services or credit repair if needed. Any money issued will be paid directly to the landlord or utility company, and the funds will never go directly to the client.
San Francisco County non-profits also partner with the Human Services Agency and other groups to place the homeless into a new home or apartment. Whether someone was evicted a short time ago, or has been homeless for weeks, assistance from HPRP can be arranged.
When seeking help, the household needs to prove some form of self-sufficiency. They need to have financial resources and support networks to remain living in the new property so they just do not get evicted again in weeks.
Case managers from San Francisco County agencies can help the homeless individual work towards this, but until it is done there will not be any financial help available. They need to be able to successfully transition from government support services when the temporary financial aid ends.
When qualified, HPRP can provide many forms of support. While the housing search and placement process is going on, a voucher may be issued to pay for a motel room. Once a safe and affordable home has been located, the rehousing process may help pay for moving costs as well as lease application fees to the landlord.
This is part of getting the San Francisco family settled. Then a reasonable amount of money may pay a portion of a security or utility deposit to get the family into the new home. Then, in an effort to prevent a future eviction, stabilization services come into play. The San Francisco agencies arrange for outreach to keep the family in their new home.
For information on services in San Francisco County, including the city, dial 415-557-5723.
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