4-Million Receive Housing Assistance

By Kevin Chiu

More than 750,000 homeowners received assistance through a Housing and Urban Development program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (TARP) to prevent them from becoming homeless, according to HUD. The figure brings to more than 4-million families who have been helped through government programs and private bank initiatives to remain in their homes or find housing in response to the real estate crash.

The government program is using more than $1.5-billion targeted to aid 300,000 households from TARP, created under the recovery act. Grants provide short and medium term rental assistance and other services to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless after suffering a foreclosure as a homeowner or a renter.

Home decorated for the Holidays

“Preventing or ending homelessness for over 750,000 Americans is a major milestone for the Recovery Act and for the Obama Administration’s Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” said Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Often times, a little bit of financial assistance can make all the difference between finding or keeping a stable home and being forced to live in a shelter or on the streets.”

More than 3.3-million additional homeowners have been helped by private banks and mortgage companies through mortgage modification programs to remain in their homes.

Grants are not intended to provide long-term support for individuals and families or mortgage assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure. The government program offers only short- and medium-term financial assistance to those who would otherwise become homeless, and those who are already in homeless shelters or living on the street. They can include short-term rental assistance for up to three months, rental assistance up to 18 months, security deposits, utility deposits or utility payments, moving cost assistance and hotel vouchers. Payments are not made directly to households, but to third parties, such as landlords or utility companies.

The HUD program requires each participant to take part in its local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) program, where data is collected on households served on a quarterly basis. Grants offer communities assistance to prevent persons from becoming homeless or to quickly re-house those who are experiencing homelessness.