El Paso County eviction prevention and rehousing assistance.
There are several programs in El Paso County for both stopping evictions as well as rehousing those families that are homeless or living in an un-affordable home. Resources are available as part of the McKinney Vento Act. Based on available funding, various agencies in the county offer support ranging from Emergency Solution Grants to legal support and much more.
The program and funds that come from the federal government are managed by the El Paso Department of Community and Human Development. This agency will disburse money to local charities and non-profits. Those recipients are the organizations that will offer direct support to those that qualify.
While the goal is to stop a tenant from being evicted to begin with, unfortunately this can't always be done. Or maybe the situation is so dire that any money provided for assisting with a rent payment would not be an effective use of limited resources. Therefore there is also a focus on helping the client gain financial independence so that they are self-sufficient.
Currently homeless families can be rehoused as a result of both Emergency Solution Grants (ESG) as well as the state of Texas Homeless Housing and Service Program (HHSP). Additional funds for this come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The city as well as county of El Paso Texas partner with local non-profits on this service.
Families as well as individuals that were evicted in the past can apply for help from HHSP. The number of people that can be assisted is limited, as funds are awarded annually by the federal government Housing and Urban Development and often go quickly. When possible, homeless residents can be moved to a new, permanent home to live in.
Priority for rehousing is given to the most vulnerable. It a veteran needs support, or maybe a single parent with a child, they can apply. Other assistance is provided to senior citizens who are homeless or a disabled person that was evicted by their landlord.
Assistance is only available once the client has regained stability. This will often mean they need to have a stable source of income, some form of savings in the bank, and improved credit scores. This is a requirement as it will help prevent a future eviction if the client has a source of stable income.
When qualified, the El Paso Texas resident may qualify for an ESG grant to pay the security deposit as well as funds to help move the homeless person into permanent housing. The government may also pay for a legal review of the lease agreement and other related expenses. If there is not an apartment available right away, then they may be given a voucher to pay for a motel or hotel or placed into a shelter. In some cases there may be short-term rental assistance provided.
Tenants in arrears on their rent with an eviction notice from their landlord can also seek help. There may be a few options available for them in El Paso Texas as a result of the Homeless Housing and Service Program.
- Emergency Solutions Grant – This is a possibility if the family has an unexpected crisis that was beyond their control. ESG, which is paid for using Housing and Urban Development funds, can offer money for expenses such as energy bills or back rent if it will delay the eviction process.
- Non-monetary aid – Many evictions can be resolved through innovative measures such as payment plans or pro-bono attorneys mediating a solution. If the challenge is a legal issue, El Paso firms will help find a solution.
- Relocation – In some instances, grants can be used to help the family move into a more affordable home. If their financial situation has dramatically changed, but they can still afford an apartment, the TDHCA Texas Department of Community Affairs will encourage this type of solution as well.
Long term homeless prevention
Whether someone was rehoused or evicted, in either case long term support is critical. Non-profits in El Paso County will coordinate job training, education, credit repair services and more. Another goal is to help the client obtain and keep employment for economic security. If applicable, they can apply for safety net services such as a section 8 HUD voucher. Whatever it takes to keep the family housed will be done, even arranging transportation, child care, or access to food.
The county is measured by reducing homelessness in the area. This not only includes stopping an eviction from occurring in the first place from resources such as ESG, but also on breaking the cycle. This is where these long term support services are critical. Everything that is done can have a positive impact in the El Paso County community impact as well as stabilize the client’s financial as well as physical situation.
For more information on these HHSP - Homeless Housing and Service programs or other eviction programs, call (915) 544-9811 or (915) 533-7057 for referrals.