ONE-TIME RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Currently, there are a number of small
programs that administer one-time rental assistance programs. However, they are mostly
focused at getting families and individuals back into housing as opposed to preventing
them from becoming homeless. With the exception of the state funded Aid to Families With
Dependent Children Homeless Assistance Program, all "rental assistance" programs
in the county require that consumers demonstrate ability to stabilize. Those who do not
have adequate income in comparison to their expenses, and/or would need on-going
assistance would not be eligible, but should be referred to on-going rental assistance. The
recommendations here attempt to change guidelines so that programs are
Community Based Organization Rental
Assistance Programs These include Northern California Grantmakers Rental Guarantee
Program (RGP), Discretionary Housing Assistance Programs administered by Community Action
Life Line (CALL) Primrose, Peninsula Family Resource Center, St. Vincent de Paul,
Samaritan House, and Community Action Agency, Season of Sharing funds and Apartment
Industry Foundation funds. (Please see Program Inventory).
Recommendations for Community Based
organization Rental Assistance programs
Recommendation IA- 1 All
rental assistance funds should be allowed to be used to pay one time rental
assistance or back rent, instead of just move-in costs. This also includes increasing
the allowed amount for back rent for Season of Sharing funds. The eligibility for these
funds should be changed and outreach conducted to ensure one-time rental assistance that
prevents homelessness. This program could include case management. Since some of the
programs are discretionary, case workers must be well trained to use good judgement in
administering these funds.
Recommendation IA-2 All rental
assistance programs should be open to all those at-risk of homelessness. This
includes single people as well as families with children.
Recommendation IA-3 Program
regulations should be changed so that in necessary instances the uncovered portion
of the back rent or rental assistance (1/2 the total) could be covered by
another grant. This particularly relates to the Season of Sharing Funds. This would
result in more cases of prevented homelessness, because more at risk families and
individuals could utilize the program. All efforts should be made to get assistance
to families and individuals before they become homeless.
Recommendation IA-4 Current
programs that pay back rent and move-in costs should be expanded. There is an
extreme shortfall in rental assistance funds.
Recommendation IA-5 A convening
of funders should take place to see if there is a possibility of combining
programs, in order to ease administrative burden, as well as confusion. This
includes having single intake forms, instead of separate forms.
Recommendation IA-6 All of these
services should have voluntary case management and follow-up attached.
Recommendation IA-7 Program
guidelines should remain flexible for special needs populations. Guidelines on
actual amounts of rent, and the possibility to use funds for multiple months until
individual or family maintains stability should remain flexible, as should optional
community service requirements. Special needs populations include people leaving
institutions such as Jails (CASE program), Hospitals, Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation
Programs, Mental Health, Developmentally Disabled and Physically III facilities, who have
successfully completed programs and can demonstrate the ability to stabilize after a short
period of time.
There are no grants of this kind available
for these populations, with the exception of special circumstances grants that are
available for those persons receiving Supplemental Security Income and rental assistance
available through Housing Opportunities for People with Aids (HOPWA) grants administered
by the Mental Health Association.
Recommendation IA-8 Grants
for unaccompanied Youth should be tied to transitional housing, or if unavailable,
shared housing services, independent living skills and employment development. Currently,
there are no emergency grants available to homeless unaccompanied youth. Youth are facing
barriers that prevent emergency grants from being administered in a traditional sense. It
is very hard for them to get landlords to rent to them, and to find jobs that offer
Recommendation IA-9 Grants
for teen parents should be tied to services, especially childcare and employment
development. There are no emergency grants available to homeless unaccompanied youth,
teen parents or pregnant teens for move-in costs or one-time rental assistance. A recent
survey conducted by the Human Service Agency revealed that housing concerns ranked 4th on
a list of 25 unmet needs of pregnant and parenting teens. Only child care, respite care
and supplies for the baby were identified as more critical.
Who Is Responsible For Implementation? Non-profits
including, but not limited to, Peninsula Family Resource Center, St. Vincent de Paul, CALL
Primrose, Community Action Agency. Core Service Agencies in conjunction with Northern
California Grantmakers. Agencies administering the grants in conjunction with Apartment
For special needs populations, all
agencies serving these populations, including but not limited to Service League,
California Veterans Services, Mental Health Association of San Mateo County, Golden Gate
For unaccompanied homeless youth and teen
parents, Youth & Family Assistance, San Mateo County Youth and Family Services
Division. (The organizational structure of Youth and Family Services Division is composed
of 3 units: Prevention and Early Intervention, Alcohol and Drug, and Child Welfare
Where Will The Funding Come From? Northern
California Grantmakers Rental Guarantee Program (RGP), Discretionary Housing Assistance
Programs administered by Community Action Life Line (CALL) Primrose, Peninsula Family
Resource Center, St. Vincent de Paul, Samaritan House, and Community Action Agency, Season
of Sharing funds and Apartment Industry Foundation funds. (Please see Program Inventory)
Additional funding for rental assistance
programs should come from a special licensing fee that would be required for all
landlords, similar to a business license. Landlords would be notified as to the
availability of funds for rental assistance if tenants fall behind on their rent.
Administration of this program should occur through the current property tax system. This
will require cooperation between the cities and the County and should be approached
Other sources of funding include Federal
Health and Human Services, County Office of Education and the State
Departments of Education and Economic Opportunity, along with foundations and private
sector corporations. HUD Emergency Shelter Program Funds and Shelter Plus Care funding has
been identified for special populations.
Aid to Families With Dependent Children
Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) The HAP program is a special need allowance
within the AFDC program. The purpose of this program is to assist eligible AFDC applicants
and recipients who are homeless with the cost of temporary shelter as well as the
reasonable costs of securing permanent housing.
Recommendation for AFDC Homeless
Assistance Program (HAP)
Recommendation IA-10 The
Task Force recommends that two waivers be sought from the state of California that
would allow the use of HAP program funds for homeless prevention. Waiver One
would give the client the ability to use the portion of the funding which is designed for
16 days in a motel for one-time rental assistance or back rent. (It should be noted that
hotel rooms are not seen as appropriate living accommodations, as many are substandard and
too small to accommodate families.) Waiver Two would give the client the ability to use
the permanent housing funds for onetime rental assistance or back rent. Both of these
recommendations must be client choice oriented, so that consumers may use the program in
the traditional way if they needed to do so.