The Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program helps fill a recently created gap in assistance for Plano residents, Housing and Community Services Manager Shanette Eaden said. By creating a program specific to the coronavirus pandemic, the city will be able to assist a different segment of the population than the city's current homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing programs, she said.
"In our mind it's another program to help those experiencing homelessness," Eaden said. "The people that will be utilizing this program, most definitely, if they're not homeless already, they're about to be."
The city expects to help roughly 18 families with nearly $313,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—an amount larger than the city's two-year running Rapid Rehousing Program budget. The department recently relaxed the guidelines around home investment partnerships due to COVID-19, allowing for the city to repurpose this amount of funding for a new program in partnership with nonprofit Volunteers of America Texas, Eaden said.
The Tenant Based Rental Assistance program will provide residents a security deposit, 12 months of rental assistance and supportive services throughout the year. These supportive services are a best practice for programs like these, Eaden said, so that a case manager can help a family work through any challenges that may have lead to needing rental assistance.
"We're trying to address holistically the household issues so that after 12 months ... they can handle this lease by themselves and they're not back in a homelessness situation."
Eligibility for the program includes having an income that is at or below 60% of the area median income and having been economically impacted by COVID-19. Applicants must also have lived in Plano for 90 days or be in a shelter or temporary living situation outside of Plano with documentation of losing permanent housing in Plano after March 1, 2020. They must also be in danger of losing their homes or not have a fixed, regular or adequate nighttime residence, according to the application.
Applications are located at 2600 K Ave., Ste. 133, Plano, TX 75074 and can also be downloaded here. Filled out applications can be submitted to Volunteers of America Texas at 2600 K Ave., Ste. 133, Plano, TX 75074 or by emailing [email protected] Appointments and questions about the application process and program can be directed to Volunteers of America Texas at 817-529-7307.