SANTA ROSA - Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing), in collaboration with local community partners, is launching a pilot program this month that will provide short-term rental housing assistance to homeless families that have school age children in Santa Rosa County. In 2017, Florida Housing’s Board of Directors approved Federal HOME funds to provide short-term, tenant based rental assistance (TEBRA) in small counties.
Board Chairman Ray Dubuque said that he believes this pilot program with Florida Housing and local community partners continues the mission of providing affordable housing. “The Board welcomes this initiative,” Dubuque said. “As a board member from the Panhandle area I am especially elated to see the launch of this pilot here and ensuring it provides safe, decent, affordable housing for the citizens of Florida.”
“Research shows that being homeless means greater challenges for children in school,” said Trey Price, Executive Director of Florida Housing. “At a minimum these at-risk kids are more likely to have lower school achievement while homeless.”
Of the available HOME funds, $750,000 will be used for the housing pilot in Santa Rosa County to provide rental security deposits, as well as, 12 months or less of rental assistance to the eligible families. Eligible families will also have the opportunity to attend life skill trainings, such as financial workshops. The allocation is expected to serve a total of 75 families over three years – 25 families per year. The amount of rental assistance per family will depend on the amount a family can pay for rent and the cost of the monthly rent.
Local community partners that are working with Florida Housing on this program include the following: Santa Rosa County School District, EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless, Milton Housing Authority, Family Promises, and other organizations. Families will be identified, assessed and prioritized by the Santa Rosa County School District’s Homeless Education Program. The Homeless Education Program is a federal program that provides school districts resources to help keep homeless children in school and work to provide all the opportunities that are available to the other students. Local partners will also handle the case management around the families by assisting the families with accessing permanent rental housing and improving their overall self-sufficiency.
For more information on Florida Housing, visit www.floridahousing.org.