The greater Onondaga County area as well as the city of Syracuse provide eviction as well as rehousing help using grants from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Other assistance to prevent homelessness may be available from other sources, including the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or United Way.
The program available is known as HALE, or the Housing Assistance and Life-skills Education. The main agency that administers it is the Salvation Army, however there are partner organizations such as the United Way as well as the Legal Aid Society of Syracuse. The homeless prevention programs combine mid to long term financial help with life skills and job training, referrals, and other social services.
Anyone seeking eviction or rapid rehousing assistance needs to be an adult, and they need to have a source of income. This is not some type of free charity hand-up, but rather the agencies that operate in Onondaga County are more than willing to work with families if they take the steps to improve their own financial condition. So they need to have an income to contribute towards their everyday living expenses, including but not limited too rent, energy bills, and other expenses.
The source of income can be from many sources. Ideally HALE will help people with at least a part time or full time job. However this is not always required. If the tenant is struggling due to a medical issue and maybe their income is coming from short disability (SSI), then that may qualify. Seniors can also apply for homeless prevention if they are on a pension. Other sources of income may qualify too.
Both the currently homeless as well as tenants facing an eviction can apply to the Onondaga Housing Assistance and Life-skills Education program. There may also be support to families or individuals that expect to fall behind on the future. So maybe they do not have a pay or quit notice from their landlord yet or a disconnection notice. It will not matter. Eviction help may still be provided.
The Salvation Army, using funds they are allocated, will offer some or all of the following. This homeless prevention program is goal based, so all steps need to be met before the client will progress through the process.
Living skills and job training will give the person the skills they need to be self-sufficient. Homelessness can be caused by many issues. It may be lack of budgeting skills, a mental or physical disability, domestic violence, lack of a job with a living wage, or another crisis. No matter what the reason, Salvation Army case managers that operate within the guidelines of HALE will offer guidance and support.
Homeless prevention assistance will also offer financial help. If the eviction is imminent due to rent being in arrears, then ESG grants may be used to pay for some of those expenses. A landlord can also eviction a family because of utility bills being unpaid or the service cut off. Therefore homeless prevention grants in Onondaga County may also have money in an emergency to pay for electric, heating, or water bills.
HALE will not only pay for emergency housing expenses (such as those indicated above) but if funding allows, the Salvation Army will also provide up to a 24 month subsidy for future rental costs. This will help the homeless family get back on track. As noted, the tenant also needs to contribute for their rent as the homeless prevention service will only pay some of the bills. This program, which may issue loans for those 24 months, is a partnership between HALE and the client.
Other stability services are also part of the Syracuse homeless prevention program. As but one example, the Legal Aid Society has attorneys as well as paralegals on staff that can help review a landlord's pay or quit notice. They will make sure it meets all of the laws and rules in New York. Or if the legal issue is for other housing related needs, such as discrimination, then those issues will also be dealt with by the society.
All of the homeless prevention programs are aimed at helping the Onondaga County family stability their living situation and gain independence. For more information on HALE dial 315.479.1307, or call for information on other eviction resources at 479-1157.
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