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New program pays rent for local homeless
We Care of Turlock will receive $139,000 to assist seven homeless individuals as part of a new rapid rehousing program. - photo by Journal file photo
Stanislaus County Planning and Community Development has distributed over $1 million to local agencies to help find permanent housing for the homeless.
The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program will place currently homeless individuals and families in permanent housing. The program will pay rent on a house or apartment for up to 10 months. The money will also help with utilities and possibly other expenditures.
The grant is part of the U.S. stimulus package and is administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the county level, the money was distributed by Planning and Community Development to non-profit organizations that provide emergency and temporary housing for homeless people in the county.
Aaron Farnon, community development manager for Stanislaus County, said that the funds were specifically for helping homeless families and individuals in Ceres, Oakdale, Newman, Patterson and Waterford. All of the agencies that received money, however, were in Modesto and Turlock. Salvation Army of Modesto, Interfaith Ministries, Children’s Crisis Center, Stanislaus Community Assistance Program and Community Housing and Shelter Services will all receive a portion of the grant money when it is released by HUD. Farnon said that the release date of the money will be announced after Oct. 1.
Farnon said that these agencies were the only ones in the county that had the experience and expertise to qualify for the grant money, and they all applied for the grant. All of the qualifying organizations have received Emergency Shelter Grant money in the past.
Farnon said homeless individuals and families that had a last known address in any of the five target cities are eligible for help through the project. Agencies can also help the homeless from other cities, Modesto or Turlock for example, if they are re-housed in any of the five target cities. There is a selection process for who is eligible for rent and utility payments.
“Caseworkers have to determine that they have the capacity to be successful,” Farnon said.
Maris Sturtevant, chief operating manager of the United Samaritans Foundation and treasurer of We Care in Turlock, said that We Care will be receiving $139,000 from the project.
“This program is all new to us. We’re not really clear on everything that has to be done,” Sturtevant said.
Sturtevant said that each agency is focusing on a different demographic of the homeless population, and We Care will focus on single homeless individuals. Sturtevant said that other agencies will focus on families and children. We Care will only be able to place seven people into permanent homes. We Care is also signing the re-homed individuals up for job training through Alliance Worknet to help them secure jobs and pay rent once the 10 months is up.
“I think it will give them a real chance to get some help and get off the streets on a permanent basis,” Sturtevant said.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003