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As the days get shorter and nights get cold, the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) reminds residents of housing programs that can keep many of the county’s most vulnerable off the streets.
“We’ve had several nights already with temperatures down to freezing,” said DHHS Director Connie Beck. “I want to make sure we get as many people as we possibly can out of the cold.”
Beck went on to say that there is funding available to assist eligible families, disabled children and adults, young people and the elderly with housing support. There is some funding earmarked specifically for winter sheltering. There are no housing supports targeting people considered to be able-bodied adults.
Families can be screened for a variety of services available through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. Services include temporary and permanent homeless assistance. Funding is also available through CalWORKs’ Family Stabilization and through its Housing Assistance Program, both of which help families secure housing and work toward self-sufficiency.
Other programs focus on families involved in Child Welfare Services (CWS), on emancipated youth and on transition-age youth participating in the Independent Living Skills program. These funds assist with rent subsidies or other short-term housing assistance to prevent young people and families from becoming homeless.
DHHS also partners with the Redwood Community Action Agency and the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation to work with homeless families. Both organizations provide limited-time housing and case management services to families referred by DHHS.
The county also has funding from the Mental Health Services Act to provide rent subsidies or housing vouchers to clients who meet certain criteria, as well as supportive housing funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that aim to prevent homelessness among youth and adults experiencing severe mental illness.
There is also funding available for temporary shelter and care for some clients in Adult Protective Services, as well as DHHS’s General Relief program, which provides eligible indigent county residents with supports to assist with deposits and rent.
“Even if you’ve applied for housing assistance before, come back and see us again,” Beck said, adding that new programs and funding sources have come online in the past few years. She acknowledged that housing stock remains a challenge, both for temporary and permanent housing, but said staff are working diligently and creatively to get people off the streets.
Residents are encouraged to apply in person for housing and other services at Social Services’ main campus located at 929 Koster St. in Eureka. Offices are open for regular business hours Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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