In an effort to combat homelessness in Texas as well as address the lack of affordable properties to rent, the Texas Homeless Network as well as the Department of Housing and Community Affairs offer services to agencies in the state. They do not directly support the general population, but rather the agencies work with non-profits to offer programs to the needy.
They mostly focus on tenants and families that lease their properties. However there are also some homeownership programs that are available in Texas, and the organization serves as a resource for them as well. Some of the activities that they are involved include section 8 rent vouchers, Emergency Solution Grants, shelter programs, Project Access, TBRA, and legal support.
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs runs the CSBG - Community Services Block Grant Program. This is a resource that not only helps with housing needs, but it provides other social services as well as poverty fighting programs to the low income. The grants help pay for resources such as shelters, rental counseling for tenants so they understand their rights and obligations, and much more. There are grants given to local non-profit agencies. To learn more or apply for help, contact a community action agency in Texas.
Unfortunately a number of people with a disability often go homeless. There are too many that live in shelters or on the streets. The Texas Homeless Network coordinates with local human service agencies to support this group of individuals. Whether the client has a mental illness or physical disability, it does not matter. They too are able to access the support they need.
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs is also involved in the statewide operation of the Section 8 voucher program. While this agency will help ensure the funding gets to the right organizations, the Texas Homeless Network supports those groups that process the applications.
As a reminder to how this service works in Texas, very low income families (with an area-wide median family income (AMFI) of 50% or less) are given a subsidy to pay their rent. The amount they owe is based on their total income from all sources. Section 8 is available for the disabled, immigrants, senior citizens, and single parents among others. There are not restrictions, but there may be a waiting list in place depending on where the applicant lives. Read more Texas Section 8.
The development of affordable housing across the state is also a goal. Builders as well as local governments partner with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. There may be interest free loans given to help build apartments for low income families or the additional creation of public housing.
The reason that many families go homeless is they can't afford the ever increasing cost of their rent as well as other daily bills. Landlords are raising annual rates faster than inflation or wages. So this means that each year the number of affordable homes and apartments continues to decrease. The Department of Housing tries to encourage ongoing development. This is good for the state and especially for low income families, as it may increase the availability of section 8 units and other homes.
The Texas HOME program is where the money for Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) comes from. This has a little higher income cut off then section 8, in that it provides support to applicants if their income is less than 80% of the area's. Another key difference is it not only pays some of the monthly rent, but TBRA in Texas also pays for security deposits as ell as utilities.
The Texas Homeless Network is also closely involved in supporting agencies that run the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program. This pays for shelters, mental counseling for the homeless, legal aid and emergency rent help, and more. Each non-profit will decide how to best use their ESG grants, within guidelines.
Former tenants looking to buy can apply to the My First Texas Home Program. There are banks that provide buyers with low interest rate mortgages. They need to have some mid-range credit score, can't have bought a property within the last several years, as well as meet low income levels, but this form of financing arranged by the Network can go a long way towards helping a family with the purchase their first home. There are also loans available to new immigrants or refugees to the state.
There is an intake line set up that residents can dial. It provides information in English, Spanish, and other languages as well. The Texas Homeless Network as well as the Department of Housing and Community Affairs are made up of dozens of local government municipalities, non-profits, and coalition partners. Anyone who needs help needs to call those local partners. But for referrals to them, dial 1-877-541-7905.
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