Emergency Housing Voucher Program for Evictions in Maricopa County

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Understanding the Emotional Impact of Eviction

Emergency Shelter and Housing Assistance

Financial Assistance Programs

Employment and Job Training Programs

Legal Aid and Tenant Advocacy Services

Food Assistance Programs

Community and Social Services

Conclusion: Building a Path to Renewed Stability

Emergency Housing Vouchers in Maricopa County: A Lifeline for Evicted Individuals

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes, unexpected circumstances like eviction can leave individuals and families without a place to call home. In Maricopa County, the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program provides a vital safety net for those facing housing instability. Managed by the Housing Authority of Maricopa County (HAMC), this program offers hope and a path forward for those in need.

What is the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program?

The Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program is designed to assist individuals and families who are struggling with housing issues. Similar to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, EHV is tenant-based, meaning it helps participants secure housing in the private rental market.

However, unlike traditional housing programs, the EHV Program does not rely on a waiting list. Instead, it uses a direct referral process from the Maricopa Continuum of Care (CoC). This ensures that the assistance reaches those who need it most, as quickly as possible.

Who is Eligible for EHV Assistance?

To qualify for the EHV Program, applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Homeless: Individuals or families lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
  2. At Risk of Homelessness: Those who may lose their primary residence within 14 days and lack the resources to secure other housing.
  3. Fleeing Domestic Violence: Individuals or families escaping domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.
  4. Recently Homeless: Individuals or families who were previously homeless and are at high risk of returning to homelessness without assistance.

How to Apply for the EHV Program

If you believe you or your family may be eligible for the EHV Program, the first step is to contact a Coordinated Entry Point within Maricopa County. Here are a few contact numbers for coordinated entry points:

  • Community Bridges: 877-931-9142
  • CBI Path – Outreach: 844-691-5948
  • Basic Mission – NW Valley: 602-284-2919
  • Native American Connections: 602-263-5531
  • Phoenix Rescue Mission: 602-346-3361

For families, you can reach out directly to the Family Housing HUB at (602) 595-8700.

Understanding Coordinated Entry

Coordinated entry is a system designed to connect people to housing and services that will rapidly end their homelessness. It’s a streamlined process that ensures individuals and families receive the appropriate resources based on their specific needs.

The Referral Process

Once a referral is made through the Maricopa Continuum of Care (CoC), assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The Housing Authority of Maricopa County (HAMC) will then process the referral to determine eligibility. Eligible participants will need to complete the required documentation and attend a program orientation briefing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a felony make me ineligible?

No, having a felony does not automatically disqualify you from the EHV Program. Eligibility depends on the type of conviction. However, those convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine on federally assisted housing premises or registered sex offenders are not eligible.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?

Yes, at least one member of your household must have legal residency in the United States.

Can I apply online or through a paper application?

The EHV Program is referral-based, meaning you cannot apply directly online or via a paper application. Referrals must be made through a Coordinated Entry Point or the Family Housing HUB.

What happens after I am referred?

After a referral, the HAMC will contact you to complete necessary documentation and confirm eligibility. You will then participate in a program orientation to finalize your participation.

Understanding the Difference Between Homelessness and At Risk of Homelessness

When discussing housing instability, two terms often arise: “homelessness” and “at risk of homelessness.” While they may sound similar, they represent different levels of housing insecurity. Let’s delve into their definitions, as outlined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, to understand the distinctions.

What Does “Homeless” Mean?

The term “homeless” is defined by section 103(a) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302(a)), codified in HUD’s Continuum of Care Program regulations at 24 CFR 578.3. According to this definition, homelessness encompasses several scenarios:

  1. Lack of a Fixed, Regular, and Adequate Nighttime Residence
    • This includes individuals or families who do not have a stable and sufficient place to sleep at night.
  2. Imminent Loss of Primary Nighttime Residence
    • This scenario applies if:
      • The primary residence will be lost within 14 days of applying for homeless assistance.
      • No subsequent residence has been identified.
      • The individual or family lacks the resources or support networks (e.g., family, friends, faith-based organizations) needed to secure other permanent housing.
  3. Unaccompanied Youth or Families with Children and Youth
    • These are individuals under 25 years of age or families with children and youth who do not fit the other categories but still lack stable housing.

In essence, being homeless means having nowhere secure to sleep or being on the brink of losing your current housing without any viable alternatives.

What Does “At Risk of Homelessness” Mean?

The term “at risk of homelessness” is defined by section 401(1) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11360(1)), codified in HUD’s Continuum of Care Program regulations at 24 CFR 578.3. This definition focuses on individuals and families who are not yet homeless but are living in precarious situations that could lead to homelessness. The criteria include:

  1. Low Income
    • The individual or family must have an annual income below 30 percent of the median family income for their area, as determined by HUD.
  2. Lack of Resources or Support Networks
    • They do not have sufficient resources or support networks (e.g., family, friends, faith-based organizations) to prevent them from moving to an emergency shelter or another unstable housing situation.
  3. Unstable Housing Conditions
    • This can include:
      • Moving due to economic reasons multiple times within the last 60 days.
      • Living with others due to economic hardship.
      • Receiving a written notice that their right to occupy their current housing will be terminated within 21 days.
      • Living in a hotel or motel not paid for by charitable organizations or government programs.
      • Residing in overcrowded or substandard housing.
      • Exiting an institution or system of care without stable housing arrangements.
      • Living in any housing situation with instability characteristics, increasing the risk of homelessness.
  4. Additional Criteria for Children and Youth
    • Children or youth who do not meet the above criteria but are recognized as homeless under other federal statutes, such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act or the Head Start Act, are also considered at risk of homelessness.

Key Differences

  • Certainty of Housing Loss: Homeless individuals already lack stable housing or will lose it imminently. In contrast, those at risk of homelessness are in unstable situations that could lead to homelessness but are not there yet.
  • Resource Availability: Homeless individuals generally lack any immediate resources or networks to secure housing. Those at risk may have some resources or networks but not enough to ensure stable housing.
  • Housing Status: Homelessness involves a lack of fixed and adequate nighttime residence. At risk of homelessness includes living in temporary, overcrowded, or unstable conditions that could soon lead to homelessness.

Conclusion

The Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program is a critical resource for individuals and families in Maricopa County facing eviction or housing instability. By providing direct referrals and rapid assistance, the program helps ensure that those in need can find stable, safe housing. If you or someone you know is struggling with housing issues, reaching out to a Coordinated Entry Point can be the first step toward a more secure future.

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