Rent assistance from HAND - Miami Housing Assistance Network of Dade.

Families facing eviction or the currently homeless in Miami-Dade County Florida can get assistance from the HAND program, also known as Housing Assistance Network of Dade. It is operated by some local non-profit organizations and charities. They use both private and government funds in order to help the homeless find and pay the security or utility deposits on a new home and funds may also be available for an emergency rental payment to those facing immediate eviction.

As with any assistance program, a number of conditions are in place and resources are very limited. Some of them may include the following.

  • The family, or individual, applying for financial assistance needs to have a court issued eviction notice. Or they need to be currently homeless and have a referral as well.
  • If the applicant does have an eviction notice, they need to be seeking temporary rent or maybe utility bill help from HAND. This is not a government benefit in Miami Dade County that operates indefinitely, and the individual needs to show the ability to quickly get back on track with paying their housing expenses on their own.

Income conditions are also in place from Housing Assistance Network of Dade. The non-profits require that the applicant be very to low income and also meet asset thresholds. Many of the thresholds are based on U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) guidelines. Some of the common issues that cause someone to seek help from HAND may be a short term reduction in work hours, an unexpected, one time expense such as a car repair, or maybe a homeless individual is now employed but they need financial assistance to pay for that one time security deposit.

The program is very extensive. It may issue funds for paying utility bills, rent, or security deposits. In addition to that, specialists will offer free legal assistance and/or credit counseling to those that need it. So this may even include information on housing discrimination or how to deal with a difficult landlord.

Rental assistance is not issued for paying for government subsidized homes or apartments. For example, the housing network will not assist those who receive a Section 8 Housing Voucher, that are part of Shelter Plus Care, or that reside in Public Housing. These individuals can always explore short term loan programs, some which are forgivable, that may be offered from the non-profits. It generally cannot be used for those families that are part of VASH or other state of Florida or federal government assistance or grant programs. However they may qualify for other rental assistance in Miami.





The amount of rent that is currently be paid by the applicant must also be reasonable. In other words, the Miami Housing Assistance Network of Dade (HAND) will not assist applicants who live in relatively high or overpriced homes or apartments. There also needs to be proof of income, copies of a lease, utility bills, and other support will be required by the case manager as well.

Most of the financial aid from HAND is also for those with a 3 to 5 day eviction notice in hand. The goal of the program is to provide people temporary rental assistance stay in that housing while they look for a more affordable home or while they work towards self-sufficiency. For those that qualify, and as funding is available, the Miami-Dade County program allows for paying past due rent for up to six months. Any cash assistance or loan payments made for rent, utilities or deposits will be made to third parties such as landlords, your apartment manager or a utility company.

To learn more, to get referrals to local non-profits, or for further details, call the Miami Dade Eviction Prevention or Homeless Helpline. The main phone number is 1-877-994-4357. Those who call and that may qualify will be referred to a local charity or non-profit organization that administers the program in their part of the city or Dade County. All aid is limited and money is available to those that are eligible on a first-come and served basis.




By Jon McNamara

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