The HUD certified Sarasota housing authority and its team of specialists provide assistance to both tenants and homeowners. The non-profit can help tenants explore any programs that offer direct financial assistance for their back rent, or offer mediation services. Homeowners in Sarasota County can benefit from counseling as well as assistance with home loan modifications.
When it comes to obtaining financial assistance, this will be in the form of referrals to programs such as Emergency Solution Grants or subsidies from section 8 housing vouchers. The agency will not issued any of their own funds. These programs very greatly, but they can help either pay a portion of future rent, or address a crisis.
Section 8 housing vouchers are for very low income families and people in poverty. Emphasis will normally be on households with children or single parents. Other clients may be senior citizens or the disabled.
Sarasota housing authority will help clients find an affordable home to live in the private market, so this is not public housing. Participants are able to select their own home. The housing inventory may include townhouses, single-family homes, condo, apartment building and apartments.
A resident can select a home that meets the program terms when it comes to monthly rent. Staff from Sarasota housing authority will review the unit selected, and ensure it meets all the terms that are in place as part of section 8. The voucher is a form of a subsidy, as it only covers a portion of the rent. Note that a deposit payment is not included in the section 8 process.
The family will be responsible for paying the difference between the rent charged by the property owner and the voucher. They also need to pay the utility bills on their own as well. The tenant expense is based on 30% of their total, adjusted gross monthly income.
Partial rent or mortgage assistance is part of emergency solution grants. This is available as part of emergency solution grants, or ESG. This is a one time per year federal resource that may provide funds to certain non-profits in Sarasota County. The aid is only for a crisis situation, and staff from the non-profit can provide referrals to this.
It was created to be a general rent/mortgage resource that requires that the applicant be at risk of becoming homeless due to delinquency on their monthly payment through no fault of their own. Also, ESG is a last resort, so the applicant needs to have exhausted all other available resources.
The federal government sets terms. Note that applicants for ESGs are interviewed to determine their needs. They need to have proof of income, and also details on the reason(s) for default. If found to be qualified for any type of financial aid, then ESG may offer some money, or maybe a loan, for a portion of either back rent or a mortgage payment.
One other service from the Sarasota housing authority is foreclosure intervention. This includes many topics, including mediation assistance from counselors, negotiating skills, tips and guidance on refinancing assistance, and loss mitigation options. The solutions cover all types of mortgages including VA, FHA, Conventional, and sub-prime.
Clients learn about the state of Florida foreclosure process, including the legal aspects of it. Workshops are one on one sessions from the HUD agency will give homeowners ways to cure default. There are also sessions on how to talk to the lender, creating financial strategies and implications of foreclosure and short-sales.
When applying, many other conditions need to be met. Applicants need to be able to overcome any barriers that would prevent them from meeting housing payments on their own. However, ongoing support is offered for this.
Staff work with clients to thoroughly review the applicant's financial situation. Partnering together, they will create an action plan to solve the problem at hand. Counselors give tenant or homeowner free advice. They will provide goals and deadlines and many different options. At the end of the process, the client is responsible for selecting the option best-suited for their household circumstances.
As an example, Sarasota housing authority counselors assist the tenant or homeowner in preparing budgets. They will help clients enter into some form of payment plan with their bank or landlord too. They will continue to advocate on an ongoing basis.
Also, as noted, the applicant must have a current source of income, whether it is from a job, retirement plan, or benefit such as SSI disability. They also need to have a reasonable plan place to show an ability to succeed and prevent a future homeless event.
FSS is for section 8 tenants and families in poverty. Family Self-Sufficiency will assist low-income families that are on a HUD voucher with breaking their dependency on public assistance programs. It addresses employment and education. FSS involves local schools from Sarasota County, businesses, government welfare agencies, and job centers. They all combine resources in an effort to help low income households and those living in poverty.
For more information, the Sarasota Housing Authority is located at 269 S. Osprey Ave. in the city. Call 941.361.6210.
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