Homelessness prevention programs

The California Department of Social Services has issued information about various homelessness prevention programs.  CalWORKs diversion is a payment to help the family meet a short term need instead of receiving CalWORKs.  A diversion payment can be used to pay overdue rent to help prevent eviction or homelessness.  If a family accepts a diversion payment and needs to reapply for CalWORKs during a period equivalent to the months of aid a diversion payment would cover, the family must repay the diversion grant or those months count toward the CalWORKs time on aid clock.  Diversion recipients who reapply for CalWORKs are eligible for all housing services available to CalWORKs recipients.

Non-Recurring Short-Term Benefits is a lump sum payment to help address a family’s specific crisis or item of need.  Non-Recurring Short-Term Benefits is for a maximum of four months.  Non-Recurring Short-Term Benefits can be used for any accrued debts or liabilities that may be covered including rent.  There is no limit on the amount of benefits that can be provided. Families may provide sworn statements to document their need.  Counties may accept a verbal statement if the applicant is unable to provide a physical or electronic signature.

Family Stabilization provides intensive case management and services to CalWORKs families facing crisis.  Family Stabilization can be used to pay rent owed and provide additional services including case management, referrals to legal services and credit repair to prevent eviction or homelessness.

Permanent Homeless Assistance is available for families that are eligible for, apparently eligible for or receiving CalWORKs and are at risk of eviction or homelessness.  Permanent Homeless Assistance can pay up to two months back rent to prevent eviction once every 12 months with exceptions.  The monthly rent must be less than 80% of the family’s total monthly income.  Note not included in the letter that alternatively permanent homeless assistance can cover security deposit and first and last month rent.

Disaster Homeless Assistance is available for families that become homeless or are at risk of homelessness because of a state or federally declared natural disaster.  Disaster Homeless Assistance can include 16 days temporary homeless assistance or permanent homeless assistance.

Tribal TANF programs can provide eviction and homelessness prevention services.

CalFresh Employment and Training can provide housing stability services for recipients who are at risk of eviction of homelessness.  Federal reimbursement for subsidized housing is limited to no more than two months per year.

Refugee support services can provide emergency assistance, including housing and utility assistance if they experience job disruption, job loss, or other COVID-19 related challenges.

The Bringing Families Home program can pay overdue or ongoing rent for families experiencing or at imminent risk of homelessness who are involved with the child welfare system in counties that operate the program.  Bringing Families Home can also provide housing navigation, case management, and coordination with additional necessary services including legal services.

The Home Safe Program provides, in participating counties, assistance to persons involved in the Adult Protective Services system who are at risk of imminent homelessness because of elder or dependent adult abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.  Home Safe Program assistance includes landlord engagement, case management, legal services, eviction protection, short-term financial assistance, heave cleaning and landlord mediation.  (ACWDL, January 14, 2021.)