Santa Clara County eviction and rehousing assistance.

The homeless prevention programs, which help with both evictions and foreclosures, are administered as part of the Santa Clara County Continuum of Care. A number of charities, non-profits, and the local Social Service Agency coordinate resources in an effort to help families stop an eviction from occurring.

The Continuum of Care was created to offer residents of the county a coordinated assessment of their situation as well as determine what their needs are. Based on that process, referrals will be given to assistance programs from agencies such as West Valley Community Services that fits the situation of the tenant. This may include government grants to help pay for any rental arrears on their current, permanent housing or some individuals may be placed into a rapid rehousing program in the San Jose area. The amount of spaces available in these various programs, as well as funding levels, are limited.

Eviction prevention in Santa Clara County

At minimum, advice is provided to any tenant that has a pay or quit/vacate notice from their landlord. The eviction programs assist families that live in both private housing as well as those that have a government subsidized home, such as section 8. There is also help for families that have a source of income from public aid, including CalWORKs or SSI disability. There are many situations in which a tenant may qualify for eviction help in Santa Clara County.

All of the assistance in Santa Clara County is a combination of one time support as well as an ongoing check in process that will last weeks if not months. This is also true for the legal aid that is run in the county. The programs are structured this way as there are two main goals in mind. One is to address the emergency and the other is to prevent a pattern of homelessness.

Any financial help for paying rent or utility bills that are in arrears will require the applicant to contribute their own money as well. The non-profits that offer homeless prevention services in the San Jose California region will never pay the entire amount of what is due. Instead, the grants issued to the tenant will help them slowly (but surely) transition to financial stability, at which time they will need to pay all of the housing costs on their own.





Programs to move families and rehouse them

Santa Clara County rapid rehousing is used to both find a place for the homeless to live as well as help families that need to move into a more affordable home, which can of course be extremely challenging to find in northern California. There is possible financial aid for paying security deposits or other expenses from the Continuum of Care agencies such as InnVision Shelter of San Jose. They also try to offer basic needs, which would be furniture and household items.

The case managers from the non-profits will reach out to local landlords to help a family make a realistic choice in the home or apartment they select. The process is a partnership between the person applying and the local housing teams. They do this to coordinate resources in the community. When an evicted family finds a new apartment to lease, the case management process will help them by making moving arrangements.

Since the goal is to rehouse the family, and to also prevent a future eviction, many different approaches are used. When there is grant based financial aid, HUD (Housing and Urban Development) money is used for this. The types of deposits that can be paid (including rental or utility) will help the prospective tenant move. A legal review of the lease agreement will take place so the tenant understands all their rights and obligations.

Some individuals and families in Santa Clara County are faced with a crisis too, such as they may be fleeing domestic violence. In these instances, rehousing will be used to get the person into a local shelter. When those are full, free Motel or Hotel vouchers are provided for the emergency. Both social services and St. Joseph's Family Center will offer these accommodations.





Homeless assistance from San Jose Continuum of Care

The interview process will touch on the applicant's income, why they were previously evicted or lost a home to foreclosure, their residency and more. The Continuum will not discriminate. Residents that seek eviction help often include immigrants, Spanish speakers, single mothers, the elderly, and families living in poverty. Anyone can apply for assistance. After the applicant goes through that comprehensive, coordinated assessment, this will ideally lead to placement into permanent supportive housing in Santa Clara or a motel in San Jose.

The application process for eviction prevention considers the tenant's situation. After that has been done, the staff will identify the best type of solution for them. This may be everything from a cash grant for paying some of their rental arears to the client meeting with an attorney for free legal aid. Or, if the homelessness is being caused by unpaid water or electric bills, then a Continuum of Care agency may help pay for that or refer them to the crisis LIHEAP program for relief.

The agencies will always focus on helping clients overcoming barriers to stability. Staff from organizations such as the West Valley Community Services will offer guidance from the Employment Services Center, which will help the family maximize their income as well as address other financial/credit counseling needs. The staff will require the client to full collaborate throughout this process. All enrollment will be reassessed every 2-3 months at most.




For referrals to eviction programs from the Santa Clara County Continuum of Care affiliated agencies or other groups, dial 866-896-3587.


By Jon McNamara

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