Get assistance from Eviction Prevention Programs.
Tens of thousands of people each year receive help from the Eviction Prevention Program (EPP). It is a federally funded housing assistance program that is supplemented by state governments, charities as well as local funds. The amount of money that is provided will usually change yearly. Due to high demand and limited resources, only a fraction of the families that need assistance will be able to qualify. Local government organization, charities, non-profits, and community action agencies manage the programs at the city, town and county level.
The program was created to provide housing and rent assistance to qualified low as well as moderate income families that are facing imminent eviction from rental housing. Federal government funding for the eviction prevention program is provided from the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) as well as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
How does the program work?
There are several aspects to the program. The Eviction Prevention Programs primary goal is to assist low and moderate income tenants who are facing an immediate eviction from their landlord. Applicants need to be behind in paying their past due rent or even energy bills. It can also help stop homelessness due to unpaid water bills, legal disputes, and other matters. The resources are intended to provide emergency short term relief to clients in an effort to help them avoid an eviction, and is not a program that people can turn to month after month for financial aid.
Individuals and families who are facing an unforeseen hardship or experiencing extenuating circumstances beyond their control are the main recipients of help. From day one, the program will provide immediate relief in the form of paying up to one months rent to the landlord to prevent the pending eviction. However, some states and local government, as well as charities, may actually pay more than one months rent if funding allows and the applicant meets certain criteria.
In addition to the immediate relief and short term payments, the program staff will provide a wide range of case management services to help get people back on their feet. For example, they may come up with options for the individuals to help them regain self-sufficiency. Case managers will often support individual plans with goals and solid steps to prevent eviction, provide long term aid, stabilize the families living conditions and also importantly help people maintain long-term housing after they are established in their new home or apartment. Many community action organizations provide some of these counseling programs.
How are people eligible for the eviction prevention program?
There are some conditions. The exact criteria will vary based upon state and the program offered, but in general the applicant needs to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the local agency that the reason they are behind on their rent was beyond their ability to control, such as an unexpected emergency or crisis. They need to show that they will be able to meet their future monthly rent payment obligations over the long term. Also, another key is that the landlord must also commit to participation in the eviction assistance program. They must agree to stop the eviction process and to also allow the tenant to stay in the apartment or rental unit under the terms of the existing lease agreement. Most landlords do agree to these terms.
In addition, most programs require that there needs to a notice of imminent danger, such as an eviction notice, some document indicating you will lose your home, or a pay or quit notice from the landlord. Additional documentation may include a foreclosure warning for those areas that offer foreclosure eviction programs.
Once again, the exact terms of each program will vary, but in general another condition is that your housing costs cannot be greater than 60% of your gross monthly income. Therefore, if your personal situation is that virtually all your income is going towards paying your rent or mortgage, it may be considered an unsustainable situation and you may not be able to get rental assistance. The reason being is that the financial help provided is intended to be short term, and if you are in over your head, no matter what is done to try to support you, the Eviction Prevention Program may not help.
To reduce your expenses below the programs required thresholds, you need to consider programs that can help you reduce your debts, including medical and credit card debts. If you reduce the amount you pay each month on say interest costs, it can help you qualify for the eviction assistance program.
Who do I contact?
While the program is funded with federal government dollars, it is run by local organizations. You can contact your county community action organization, local branch of the Salvation Army, or a local government agency. Here is a resource that provides a listing of some of the assistance programs and contacts by state, city, and county.
As indicated, some national non-profit and charity organizations administer emergency funds to pay rent. These will also come with conditions, including the funds need to be used to prevent homelessness that could result from an eviction. The grants may help with paying housing costs due to a property owner or utility bills due to a local provider. Case managers can work with tenants of all income levels to show them how to avoid an eviction. Find listing of national charities.
Some state governments have also coordinated their own programs that are targeted at preventing homelessness and evictions. They will use a combination of federal government grants and often supplement that with local funds. Some of the government agencies may issue loans to help prevent an eviction from an apartment. Programs offered by states include the following.
In addition to the various other resources you will find on this site, the Eviction Prevention Program is just one more place to turn to for assistance. The government, or non-profit organizations in a local community, may provide you with housing and rent assistance.
Free legal assistance to prevent an eviction
Most states operate non-profit law firms that provide free legal aid and advice that can also be used to prevent an eviction. The programs, which are run at the state and county level, are funded by both federal and state government grants. Lawyers may also represent a tenant in housing court as a form of eviction defense. Find information about free lawyers that give legal advice, and find your state.
These non-profit law firms employ local attorneys and other legal professionals who offer qualified residents a wide variety of support, including free legal consultations, representation and other services that can help prevent an eviction. Many of the attorneys can contact your landlord directly to try to mediate some form of solution to your housing crisis.