Broward County eviction prevention and rehousing assistance.
The local government affiliated agency in Broward County known as the Homeless Initiative Partnership (HIP) coordinates resources to both stop evictions and to rapidly rehouse those that are now homeless. The organizations that are part of the service receive grants on an annual basis from the Housing and Urban Development organizations (HUD) and those funds are used for various activities to prevent evictions in the community.
Several charities as well as local municipalities work with the county as part of the HIP program. They are the agencies on the “front lines” of tacking homelessness in the community. Whether it is providing some money for paying a portion of rent, placing families into a transitional housing, or providing a motel voucher for a night or two, there may be assistance available.
The funding for the eviction assistance comes mostly from ESG, or emergency solutions grants. When help is provided by a Broward County or Fort Lauderdale based agency, they will decide what to offer, if anything. In general, any financial assistance is for a crisis only and is not for families that have not show the ability to pay the rent on their own. The resources are limited and there are no guarantees to receiving support.
When seeking eviction help from the Homeless Initiative Partnership or organizations affiliated with the Continuum of Care, the tenant needs to bring several forms of proof to their hardship. This includes their total household income, no matter the source. There should also be proof of residency in Broward County, immigration status, and copies of their lease, among other documents.
An assessment of their application will be done. If they are facing an eviction due to a dispute with their landlord, then legal aid may be offered. Attorneys can mediate solutions for things such as unpaid rent, damage to a home, needed repairs, or a disturbance that is effecting the property. Often times mediation from a legal professional can prevent an eviction from occurring.
When it comes to direct financial help, this is the most difficult to get. If the reason the tenant is late on their rent or utility bills is due to a one time emergency, then it is more likely that a grant as part of ESG will be provided. In these cases the money can be used for paying costs such as rent or energy bills.
The Homeless Initiative Partnership also coordinates rapid rehousing, which is now called Permanent Housing in Broward County. This is the use of federal government funds to get someone who has been evicted back into a new home or apartment. It encompasses many steps, as noted below.
- Most applicants for rehousing need to go through a transitional housing placement process first.
- The individual will need to find a stable job, rebuild credit, save money, and rebuild their finances.
- After stability has been achieved, ESG grants can be used to help the family pay rental or utility deposits, moving costs, and first months rent, among other costs.
- The home selected in Broward County needs to be safe and affordable.
If the stabilization program has been successful, the the Broward County family may be rehoused into a permanent home. Human services or non-profits that are part of the Homeless Initiative Partnership will help with this process as well, which may include the following.
- A free voucher for a motel for a night or two while the family is moving.
- ESG grants for paying lease application fees, first months rent, storage, or a security deposit.
- Legal aid is reviewing the proposed lease agreement.
Rehousing will also involve ongoing support to the tenant. The Homeless Initiative Partnership affiliated agencies will involve staff working with the renter to ensure they remain housed and do not get evicted in the future. If there are challenges around employment or disputes with a landlord, assistance is offered for those needs and other challenges.
The various homeless prevention programs are also tailored for a certain population in Broward County. There is help for individuals with emotional, mental and physical disabilities; mothers with children including single parents or pregnant women; veterans; the chronically homeless; and even Broward County residents with substance abuse disorders. So assistance, whether rehousing or eviction help, is all encompassing.
For information on any type of rehousing or eviction help, including HIP or the Continuum of Care, dial 954.537.0211 for referrals. A free hotline can refer tenants, or the currently homeless, to resources in the community.