First posted at Working America's Blog
Some help available for those on the edge of eviction. From the NY TImes
He could no longer pay even the rent on his cramped studio apartment — not on his $10-an-hour part-time job as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant.
Faced with eviction, he was staring last month at the imminent prospect of joining the teeming ranks of the homeless. His last hope was a new $1.5 billion federal program aimed at preventing that fate.
Much like the Great Depression, when millions of previously working people came to rely on a new social safety net for their sustenance, a swelling group of formerly middle-class Americans like Mr. Moore, 30, is seeking government aid for the first time. Without help, say economists, many are at risk of slipping permanently into poverty, even as economic conditions improve.
The question is whether the modern-day safety net has enough money and the right initiatives to aid those who need it most. The answer could shape whether a considerable slice of the American population will recover from the trauma of recent years, and how long that will take.
“Nationally, homelessness has now reached crisis proportions not seen since the Great Depression,” says Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
The severity of the situation prompted the Obama administration to create the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program within the $787 billion economic stimulus package. The program rests on the assumption that intervention is the best course because once people become homeless, the odds and costs of regaining their lives escalate sharply.
One of the goals of this program is to help prevent even more people from losing their housing. The US has a higher level of homelessness right now than we had during the Great Depression. The funds are administered federally through the HUD program, but each state seems to have a different system for distributing funds. Every state has a housing authority, and their websites are the best way to find out how the program works in your state.