If you're lucky (or unlucky) enough to receive unemployment benefits from the State of Utah, hopefully you know that you also can apply for rental assistance through the Utah Department of Workforce Services/Homeless Prevention Plan. It's hard to keep track of all the available help out there given that there are 45 signing documents that may not hold up in court and a Congress that can't seem to figure out anything. We do know that the extra $600 in unemployment benefits ran out and people are in danger of not being able to pay their rent.
By allocating funds for rent/mortgage and/or utilities, the state's emergency assistance program helps folks who don't have enough money to prevent becoming homeless or have their utilities shut off. There are eight conditions that must be met to get help:
1. The family must have lost their home or be about to lose their home or their utilities because they have past-due payments that resulted from an event (a crisis) that happened beyond the control of the family.
2. The family must be able to keep their housing or utilities or find new housing with a single rent, deposit, mortgage or utility payment.
3. The family must show how it will make past due payments and pay future months' rent, mortgage or utility payments after the crisis has been solved.
4. The family must have already tried all other means of getting the money to pay or tried to set up a repayment plan.
5. The value of all the household assets and things the family owns cannot be more than $2,000. These include assets and possessions that are immediately available to the family members.
6. The household's total income per month cannot be more than 185% of the Standard Needs Budget (SNB), based on the household's size. (Visit jobs.utah.gov/customereducation/apply/incomecharts.html for income limits.)
7. The payment is available once in a 12-month period.
8. The household must have at least one dependent child who is under 18 living in their home.
You can apply at a Workforce Service location in the state or talk to nonprofit dealing with housing issues like the YWCA, Shelter the Homeless, Community Development Corp., etc. Better yet, use the 211 hotline for Essential Community Services. It's a free phone number like 911 that helps you find services. It's especially good if you are elderly, disabled, don't speak English as a primary language and/or are new to the area. The information and referral service was set up a few years ago and is priceless and works in every state in the U.S. to help find resources for housing assistance and emergency housing as well as myriad other services. Cross your fingers that more will come from Congress soon!