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Project Outreach housing and emergency aid.

With many families in Oakland California struggling to pay their rent and provide food, Project Outreach is one agency that may be able to help. The organization operates as a non-profit, and staff can direct clients to government programs for paying rent or security deposits. Other resources, some run directly by Project Outreach, include a food pantry as well as local thrift store, and these will have more basic supplies.

Residents faced with a one time crisis, and that are behind on their utility bills or rent, may be able to receive funds in an emergency. The goal is to help tenants avoid evictions, or even a homeowner with stopping a foreclosure. Priority is for households with children, whether they are single parents or traditional families, or senior citizens. Any financial aid is also for people faced with a crisis that they did not create, such as fire, medical emergencies, short term job loss, or death of a loved one.

Project Outreach Housing Assistance provides residents with homelessness prevention and housing stabilization services. This will include money from emergency solution grants and other solutions. However, the funding is very limited and comes with restrictions.

Also, staff from the agency communicate with local landlords. This is done to help mediate a solution. Advocacy also takes place with Realtors, and Housing Developers to try to increase the number of available low income apartments for this population. Trained case managers work with prospective tenants on understanding the responsibilities of being a tenant, such as budgeting and stressing the importance of financial discipline. There is also assistance in mediating any issues related to a family's tenancy.

Counseling is a tool used to prevent homelessness and to promote stable, safe and affordable housing in the region. Services include education, budgeting, and mediation regarding landlord/tenant rights. Residential stabilization and homelessness prevention services include emergency payments for rental and utility arrearages, ongoing tenancy support, and referrals to additional community services.

When applying for counseling, be prepared by having pertinent information that would help the counselors understand the financial situation. People should have a copy of their lease or rental agreement, code violation reports, notices to quit from a landlord, and summary process paperwork.




Much of this support and advice is offered by Project Outreach in partnership with other groups. They include the United Way as well as community action agencies in Alameda County. They also work with the national NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center to offer training on landlord rights and responsibilities.

Project Outreach Social Services places emphasis on becoming self-sufficient. It also assists through the prevention of homelessness. Short-term financial assistance or basic needs are met, as well as counseling is provided with the goal of stabilizing the family during times of crisis.

When seeking help, applicants will be screened. There is a formal application process, and clients will need proof of income as well as details on why they are struggling. They also need to show what they have done to improve their prospects.

Project Outreach will focus on addressing the needs of the disadvantaged in society. They work to improve the lives of those experiencing hardship through education, counseling and/or referrals as well as short-term assistance for basic human needs. More information is below.

Staff will verify the need and determine the most appropriate form of financial aid to be provided, if anything. Social Workers work with each client to develop contingency plans. This will address keeping a budget, and clients will explore possibilities for education or training and other avenues that promote self-sufficiency.





The self-sufficiency aspect of this will touch upon local high school GED programs, job training, drug and alcohol abuse programs and mental health care. Or, if some other need is required, then that is touched upon too. During this process, food will be given to them, or they can be given clothes from a local thrift store if that helps them find a job.

The capacity to help people is limited. Project Outreach relies heavily on government grants and charitable donations. In order to qualify for case management or financial aid, clients must be employed or actively searching for employment, in school, elderly or disabled. At the conclusion of this process, additional assistance may be available. This includes School Supplies, funds for heating bills, Weatherization Kits, Prescription Assistance, and bags of food.

Seniors in Alameda County are also a main focus of the agency. They can benefit from vouchers from local thrift stores or a home delivery of a meal. Another solution, the Elder Home Repair program, can assist senior homeowners with low cost, emergency home repairs. Anything done will be for very minor work, such as a basic patching of the roof.

The program runs from a center at 5782 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, California, 94921. Telephone number is 510-382-1360. All resources from the agency are very limited.




By Jon McNamara

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