To date, more than 2,120 clients have been helped through this program, including Chad and April, a couple from Centralia. They were on the verge of being evicted in December 2009. Chad had been laid off work, and April was due with their fourth child any day. BCMW (Bond-Clinton-Marion-Washington) Community Services used some of its ARRA Homeless Prevention funds to pay two months of the family's past due rent. This was enough to catch the family completely up and stop the process of eviction.
In addition, Chad and April had already received their low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) benefits for the year, but still had a large enough power bill that their electric was going to be shut off. BCMW was also able to utilize emergency funds through the LIHEAP program to pay their power bill and keep power on.
"I really feel that without the help and flexibility of the HPRP funds, Chad, April, and their four children would have been homeless. These funds helped them get back on their feet," said Sarah Ford, Chad and April's BCMW Case Worker.
Statewide, DCEO has access to $19 million in Homelessness Prevention Assistance funds. Funds are being used by the local agencies to provide rental assistance, security/utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and motel/hotel vouchers. As of March, more than $2 million has been disbursed to offset the effects of the economic recession on the state's hardest hit families.
These ARRA dollars are not intended to fight chronic homelessness, but are for those who have lost their home or are on the verge due to recent economic circumstances beyond their control," said Lou Ann Williams, program manager in the Office of Community Development at DCEO. "Sometimes a few months rent is all someone needs to climb back from the brink."