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Friday, September 27, 2013

Need Help Paying Bills?

New Haven rent assistance.

Get information on New Haven rent assistance programs. A number of agencies, non-profit organizations, and government programs provide rent help to low income individuals and families.

If you are faced with an eviction, or falling behind on your monthly rental payments, call or stop by a location in New Haven for details on rental assistance programs and services. A number of different grant programs and homeless prevention services and resources can be applied to for low income housing and/or rent help. Some provide emergency assistance, others offer longer term payments, counseling, and self-sufficiency. Also learn about government rent assistance such as Section 8 and homeless prevention and rapid rehousing.
  • Community Action Agency of New Haven – For people experiencing a financial emergency or short term hardship, they can provide onetime cash assistance, immediately, through a grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Money paid out is intended to help pay rent or mortgage if faced with an eviction or foreclosure. 781 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06515, phone (203) 387-7700.
  •  Community Mediation, Inc. – Access money to pay rent, as well as mediation to deal with landlord-tenant issues. The state offers a program from the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) which is a housing mediation program. It includes a rent payment option that can help pay a portion of the back rent or mortgage if facing eviction. Provides financial assistance and mediation to help landlords and tenants, or even homeowners and mortgage holders, resolve conflicts over back rent or loan payments. It can also deal with repairs, late rent payments, and other housing issues or expenses. In addition, applicants may receive assistance up to $1200 to pay their no more than one month's rent as well. Support is for people facing homelessness. Resident of Branford, East Haven, Hamden, New Haven, North Haven or West Haven can apply if you are experiencing a non-recurring, unexpected, documentable hardship. Applicants to the program need to have received a notice to quit or notice of foreclosure. Address is 32 Elm Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510. Call (203) 782-3500.
  •  Connecticut Social Services - Southern Regional Office, New Haven administers state and federal cash assistance for low income individuals and families with children, individuals or families who are elderly or disabled, and refugees. Dial (203) 974-8000. 
  • Columbus House, Inc. – Runs the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing (HPRP) program for the New Haven Connecticut region. It can offer cash grants and financial assistance, with the goal of preventing homelessness by providing financial and rental assistance to eligible families. Some of the people who can get help include individuals and couples without children who are homeless or facing possible homelessness. The program is intended to help applicants who but for this assistance, would be homeless or evicted from their home or apartment. It is not intended to be a long term charity program. The non-profit also offers comprehensive case management services agency-wide through emergency, permanent, and transitional housing. Specialists and on site case managers provide assessment and referrals to appropriate community services, including charities and state and federal government programs, to help clients identify and overcome many of the causes of their homelessness. 586 Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, New Haven, CT 06519, phone (203) 401-4400. 
  • Liberty Community Services, Inc. – Another New Haven non-profit that may be able to provides temporary, short term financial assistance for paying rent and housing costs. In addition, work with a counselor for housing relocation and stabilization services, which is being offered to people who are homeless or would be homeless but for this assistance. They do also administer eviction prevention assistance, which is intended to keep current housing or help people move to other housing. Other services include rental assistance for a maximum of 18 months, funds to pay up to 6 months back rent, security deposits and utility deposits, and even most cost expenses. 129 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, phone (203) 495-7600.
  • New Haven Office of Management and Budget also runs the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. It can provide money for security deposits, short and long term rent funds too. Call (203) 946-8390. 
  • TEAM, INC. administers an eviction prevention program for the county. It is offered to qualified residents who are facing a one-time financial challenge and who need rental assistance. Your application will be reviewed. Note if you owe too much money you may not qualify. An eviction/notice to quite is also required. Location is 30 Elizabeth Street, Century Plaza, Derby, CT 06418-1846. Call (203) 736-5420. 
  • New Haven Home Recovery, Inc. – Offers assistance programs that serve families who are at imminent risk of homelessness, or who are homeless today. Apply for emergency rental assistance, including back rent. Money can also help pay for security and utility deposits. Even get money for heating and electric bills. Money can pay moving costs. Last, but not least, the agency is a great place for referrals to other local charities and agencies as well as shelters when appropriate. Free legal advice can be obtained too. They also run two family stabilization programs, one in Fair Haven and one in Bridgeport Connecticut. Address - 153 East Street, New Haven, CT 06511, (203) 492-4866. 
  • Continuum of Care, Inc. administers the Housing Resource Development Program. They offer financial assistance and housing placement. Program Staff search throughout Greater New Haven County area to help qualified people locate low income housing and staff also administer rental subsidy loans and rental supplemental grants for families and/or individuals with mental health needs who can live independently in the region. Apply for requests for rental assistance, and the organization may also providing bridge subsidy and security deposit loans to the low income. 67 Trumbull Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, dial (203) 401-2082.
  • CMHC runs the New Haven Shelter Plus Care Program. The non-profit can offer financial assistance with rent expenses, support services, and access to either short term or permanent housing rental subsidies working poor and/or homeless individuals. Applicants need to have a serious, HIV/AIDS, or some other condition. The agency passes out rental assistance certificates. 319 Peck Street, Building #1, New Haven, CT 06513. Call (203) 764-6330.
  • Elderly Services of New Haven offers the Rent Rebate Program for the Elderly & Disabled. Rebates and subsidies are offered. Address is 165 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, phone (203) 946-7854. Read more on housing programs for seniors.
     Rental Assistance Program is run by the New Haven Department of Social Services. Phone (203) 757-1138. The state of Connecticut RAP program is the major state-funded program for helping very low-income individuals and families pay for safe, decent, yet affordable housing and apartments.

Need Help Paying Bills?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tips for Sharing an Apartment

Roommates and Sharing an Apartment


Many renters often consider sharing an apartment. The main benefit we found in our research is a financial one. With the rent cut in half, or three ways perhaps, a larger apartment or one in a more exclusive area can suddenly be affordable. But sharing an apartment isn’t always that easy. With some tips you can make this transition into roommate life a pleasurable one.

Helpful Tips for Finding a Roommate
istock_000001847876xsmall — Benefits of Sharing an Apartment
— The Drawbacks of Sharing an Apartment
— Finding a Roommate
— Questions for a Potential Roommate
— Rooming with a Friend
— Roommate  Agreements
— How to Eliminate Conflicts
  • Benefits of Sharing an Apartment
Probably, the main benefit of sharing an apartment is a financial one.  Having a roommate to share in the rent and other expenses allows you to perhaps have that larger living space that was otherwise out of your price range, or maybe you can move into that apartment in a great location which had a higher rental rate. In this case, a roommate could be a blessing, especially if you both love the apartment and the neighborhood. a roommate also can help share in house hold duties like cleaning, dishes, and laundry. Sharing the work makes life easier, especially if you work full-time or have a job in which you travel a bit. If you are away, the plants will still get watered and the cat fed by your roommate, and of course you will do the same for him or her.  Once you work out personal and financial responsibilities, have a roommate can be quite nice. There will be always someone there to talk to, share the day with, and give support to. Loneliness will be at a minimum.

  • The Drawbacks of Sharing an Apartment
Inevitably personalities clash. Often you’ll meet someone and have so much in common, feel like you’ve found a best friend or a sister or brother of sorts, only to realize months down the line that this person is not what they seemed. This is always the risk with finding a roommate, especially one you’ve never met before, and is one of the biggest disadvantages of sharing an apartment. If you find that you simply cannot get along over time, it maybe difficult to get out of the rental situation, especially if a lease has been signed. If you’ve overstepped with your money due to having a roommate share the expenses, this could be a big problem. If they split, you could be stuck with full responsibility. It would be advantageous to have both of you sign a rental agreement that holds both of you accountable for rent and other expenses should this happen.

Lack of privacy is often another complaint with roommates sharing an apartment. If you are a people person and don’t like to be alone, a roommate is a perfect idea, but there are still times when one needs a little space and their own privacy. Often you may want to do something when you get home from a long day at work, and find your roommate entertaining a few friends or watching TV. Setting boundaries, and schedules for guests is paramount to a good roommate relationship.

Division of chores is another difficulty, especially if one of you isn’t as neat as the other. Often a renter will complain that they live with a slob, or someone who doesn’t pull their own weight when it comes to cleaning up the apartment. Again, a schedule should be set to clarify who does what in you apartment, and the person held accountable if they don’t.

  • Finding a Roommate
Finding a great roommate can be difficult, especially finding someone who is compatible with your personality. Finding someone who you can get along with, have similar interests, and setting up apartment responsibilities and guidelines will be a great advantage. Creating and signing a roommate agreement will help make an easier transition into sharing an apartment. You can advertise for a roommate in the local paper or local magazines. This will open you up to a lot of phone calls, perhaps some one-on- one meetings in public places, and possible visits to your apartment or theirs. In any case, it is wise to be very cautious, not to go alone to meetings, and have a few conversations before hand to get a better feel on the person involved. is a roommate finding site especially designed with renters who want to share their apartment living space. It is easy to use, easy to explore, and it’s free. When we checked it out we found the site well organized. You can make a profile of yourself, listing what your likes and dislikes are, the area you live in, your schedule, etc. You can upload a profile picture, and pictures the apartment you wish to share. There is a sample profile right on the front page of the site to get an idea of how to do this. Then you simply search for the city you live in, or are looking to move to, and view other potential roommate profiles. You will see all the other posted pictures and profiles. One testimonial stated that was a safe, secure way to interview a new roommate. We highly recommend this site if you are looking for someone you don’t know to room with.

  • Questions for a Potential Roommate
Be open when interviewing a new roommate. Listen carefully. And be willing to answer their questions also. The following are some questions to ask:
  • Have you been a roommate in the past?
  • Why did you move out?
  • Did anything your previous roommate do really bother you?
  • What kind of job do you have? How long have you worked there?
  • What is your work schedule like?
  • On average, what time do you go to bed and wake up?
  • Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you use drugs or drink?
  • Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Will they be staying over and how frequently?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a neat or a messy person?
  • Will you work together to keep the apartment clean?
  • Will you share the cost of groceries and cleaning products for the apartment?
  • Do you follow a specific diet, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, or any other?
  • If you watch television, what do you like to watch? How often do you watch TV?
  • Do you have a lot of friends that will be visiting?
  • Will you have parties?
  • Are you a musician? What instrument do you play? Do you practice and how often?
  • Will you co-sign a lease?
  • References? Previous roommate references? Landlord references?

You of course can add to this list any particular things you’d like to know or share with a potential roommate. Keep in mind that some of these questions can be an automatic yes or no with the person interviewed. For example, if they have a cat, and you are allergic to cats this can be the deal breaker. Smokers and non-smokers can be another problem.
  • Rooming with a Friend
Sharing your apartment with someone you already know can be an easiest way to find a roommate. All the “getting-to-know” ground-work is already done. You know that you both share similar interests and perhaps your schedules are compatible. The interviewing process would be basically unnecessary. However, keep in mind that living in close proximity with someone, even a person you know well, can have challenges. You learn quite a bit more about a person when you live with them, and you may not like everything you find. Patience and understanding are keys to keeping a good roommate relationship with a friend. Build your renting partnership with trust, understanding and honesty, and we also recommend that you make a written renters agreement together, even though he or she is a friend. This way there will be no misunderstandings, financial or otherwise, in the future and you friendship will endure beyond your years of rooming together.

  • Roommate Agreements
Here are a few ideas on how to keep roommate frustrations to a minimum. Consider the following items when forming an agreement with your new roommate (or friend-roommate!).

  • Space issues – What areas are to be shared in the apartment and what areas are to be private (bedroom, bathroom, etc.).
  • Personal Items – How food and other items are to be shared such as shampoos, towels, medicines. Set standards of usage. Label items with your name if necessary to set boundaries and ease confusion.
  • Cleanliness – Hopefully you are both on the same page when it comes to keeping the apartment clean and are both willing to contribute. Create a cleaning schedule with who does what each week.
  • Noise – Agree on noise levels during certain times of day, such as music playing, instrument playing, or television watching.
  • Expenses – Perhaps the most important consideration. Money is the toughest issue between people but has to be dealt with respectfully. Agree to who pays for what and the splitting of rent and expenses ahead of time to save a lot of future disagreements.
  • Storage – The storage space in you apartment can be limited. Examine the areas together and divide as evenly as possible. Areas to consider are: kitchen cabinet shelves, refrigerator shelves or drawers, bathroom storage spaces, and closets.
  • Overnight Guests and Parties – Set limits or notice times (like a day or two beforehand) that need to be given to your roommate so that no surprises or problems arise that could ruin an otherwise fun occasion.

More information on Roommate agreements here.

  • How to Eliminate Conflicts
Here are just a few suggestions on how to keep a roommate relationship in balance when the inevitable conflict arises.

First, be sure to be calm when confrontation is necessary. Saving yourself up with your anger, and exploding the first chance you get to talk with your roommate will not help the situation. Instead speak openly and focus on the problem at hand, not on multiple things that may be bothering you.

Ask each other what you can do together to change the present situation. Perhaps your roommate keeps using your favorite shampoo. Does she need her own? Can she afford it? What can each of you do to keep the problem from happening again?

Find out the needs and personal thoughts on the issue before jumping in with attack words. Your roommate may be thinking one way about something, and you another. Conversations that start with you both on the same page will be more beneficial.

And lastly, consider bringing in a mediator to help with a larger or deeper problem between you and your roommate. A neutral party can clarify things, and bring new light to the situation.

Sharing an apartment can be a joyful experience. You can make a friendship that will last a life-time with the right, compatible person sharing your space. By considering all the benefits and drawbacks, asking the right questions, setting up a good roommate agreement, and preventing conflicts with productive conversations, you will have no problem finding the right person to share and enjoy your apartment.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What about Transitional Housing?

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning Development OneCPD Mailing List
Developing Viable Communities through Housing, Services, & Economic Opportunities

SNAPS Weekly Focus: What about Transitional Housing?

Over the last several years, better information has emerged about how different homeless service models really work, which has prompted a discussion about what we as a community might do to make sure that our housing and service programs reach as many people as possible with the best outcomes possible. We have started using words like efficient and effective to describe the promising practices such as Rapid Re-housing and Housing First. At times, the conversation can be uncomfortable. The decisions we need to make are hard. And of course having hard and uncomfortable discussions when we are experiencing budget cuts are all that much more difficult and uncomfortable. And at the center of many of these discussions at both the local and national levels has been the subject of transitional housing. 
I get asked on a regular basis about HUD’s position on transitional housing. Some people think that HUD simply wants to get rid of this type of housing altogether. To those folks I often say this – HUD does not advocate the wholesale removal of one type of homeless resource in a community (like emergency shelter or transitional housing) with the replacement of another (like rapid re-housing). That would be short-sighted, and does not take into account the specific needs of communities. What HUD really wants is for communities to be strategic, to have the tough conversations, and really use their data to be sure that whatever programs they have in place to serve families and individuals experiencing homelessness are part of a larger system approach, and have the best outcomes possible.

Transitional housing is an eligible component of the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program and can be a necessary part of a CoC’s homeless assistance portfolio.
However, it is time for CoCs to look at transitional housing programs with a critical eye – look at recent research, review each program’s eligibility criteria, analyze outcomes and occupancy rates, and make sure the services offered (and paid for) actually match the needs of people experiencing homelessness within the CoC. Many transitional housing programs may need to change their program design or serve a different population. For example, some may need to remove strict eligibility criteria that result in those families that really need intensive services being screened out (often resulting in low occupancy). In other cases, the best course of action is to reallocate the transitional housing program in favor of a more promising model.

For many years, using HUD funds for transitional housing was the only funding alternative for serving families and individuals that did not need permanent supportive housing. With rapid re-housing now eligible under both the CoC Program and the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, there is an alternative and promising option for families with low-barriers that need shorter interventions. Rapid re-housing can be done with a lower cost per household – increasing the total number of households that can be served with the same amount of funding. If the majority of households served in your CoC's transitional housing are families with lower barriers, you should consider reallocating those projects into new rapid re-housing projects for families.

Similarly, as CoCs move to a more direct Housing First approach, eligible households with disabilities that will need long-term assistance likely do not need an interim stay in transitional housing.  For example, a CoC that has a high number of people in transitional housing waiting for placement into permanent supportive housing should consider reallocating those transitional housing units into new permanent supportive housing.

We know that there are families and individuals who need more assistance than rapid re-housing offers but who do not qualify for permanent supportive housing. Transitional housing should be reserved for those populations that most need that type of intervention – programs that serve domestic violence survivors and youth and those that provide substance abuse treatment come to mind first – rather than being used either as a holding pattern for those that really need permanent supportive housing or those that need less intensive interventions.
As we move forward, I hope that we can continue the conversation about what interventions can have the most positive impact. Change is hard, and there are a lot of details that need to be discussed when approaching the question of transitional housing at both the national and local levels. But with open discussion, the use of data, and the commitment to systems change rather than a program-oriented approach we can ensure that homeless services dollars are used to the biggest possible benefit for those whom we all serve.
Below are some interesting readings on transitional housing to spark local discussion:
Don’t forget to check back to SNAPS Weekly Focus page over the coming weeks as we will continue to post related materials and TA products related to each weekly focus, as they become available.

As always, we thank you for your commitment to ending homelessness.

Ann Marie Oliva
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SNAPS Weekly Focus:

Rapid Re-Housing

Last week, we talked about the Housing First approach and how it is both a cost-effective and successful model for addressing the needs of the people we serve. This week, we’re going to discuss another model that has proven to be effective and which follows a Housing First approach: rapid re-housing.
When I am out doing public speaking I find that people are asking me “what exactly is rapid re-housing?” I realized that in the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program interim rules, we tell our recipients what funds can be used to do rapid re-housing, but not how to do rapid re-housing. While that is appropriate for regulations, which define how federal funds can be used, it points to the need for information about the model itself. However, that is a challenge because there are many successful models at the local level which are different depending on the population they are serving, what their local housing market looks like, and the scope and nature of homelessness in a given community.
But there are some core elements we have identified as critical to the model:
  1. The people assisted come from the streets or shelter and would remain homeless but for this assistance.
  2. The household being served is helped directly into a community-based unit it will retain after the program ends.
  3. Service plans for program participants are individualized based on their needs, circumstances and market conditions, and focus on helping households find and keep housing. This typically includes landlord outreach and help with the process of housing search.
  4. Other types of supportive services may be provided as needed by links to mainstream programs or partner agencies (i.e., mental health services, substance abuse treatment, medical services, child care, etc.).
  5. Financial assistance is provided to support housing, and is time limited. The amount of monthly assistance is typically flexible and may be adjusted over time. Because the program is individualized and flexible in its response to each household’s needs, to do this type of program successfully takes good project administration, tracking, and follow-up.
HUD encourages communities to think critically about how rapid re-housing can benefit homeless individuals and families, and work to include rapid re-housing as part of the overall homeless program portfolio. As you saw in the recently released Fiscal Year 2013 CoC Registration Notice, this type of intervention is one of only two allowable types of new projects created through reallocation in the CoC Program competition. While rapid re-housing can be used effectively for many homeless populations, preliminary evidence indicates that it is particularly effective for households with children. Data from HPRP indicate that as high as 90 percent of families that receive rapid re-housing assistance exited the program to permanent housing.
Here are some reasons why communities are encouraged to create more rapid re-housing:
  • By exiting households from literal homelessness more quickly, rapid re-housing may reduce the known, negative impacts of prolonged homelessness (loss of employment, increased substance abuse, failure to comply with medical/mental health instructions, and reduced school attendance/performance/graduation rates).
  • By reducing the length of stay in emergency shelters, beds become available for other households whose homelessness could not be prevented; this enables the community to maintain their basic safety net.
  • Short-term assistance is frequently sufficient to help most individuals and families secure permanent housing quickly and successfully, which means there are more resources available to assist more households to move out of homelessness.
  • Many communities have reported to us that only a small number of those served through rapid re-housing programs later returned to the homeless system.
To help guide your local discussions and program design, HUD will be releasing two products in the coming weeks: a webinar to be conducted with our federal and national partners on why rapid re-housing is an important component of an effective system, and a short guide on the model itself.
Don’t forget to check back to SNAPS Weekly Focus page over the coming weeks as we will continue to post related materials and TA products related to each weekly focus, as they become available.
As always, we thank you for your commitment to ending homelessness.
Ann Marie Oliva
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Leeway Residential Care Facility

Leeway, Inc.
Residential Care


40 Albert Street

New Haven, CT  06511

203-865-0068 phone
203-865-0399 fax

Leeway’s Residential Care Facility Mission
Leeway’s Residential Care Facility, an integral part of the continuum of AIDS care, is committed to being a center of excellence in providing residential, personal and supplemental care so that those with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and/or related conditions can live as independently as possible.  This expert care is respectfully provided with compassion and without regard to race, national origin, age, religion, handicap, gender or sexual orientation with the focus on the integration of body, mind and spirit.  We are committed to promoting quality of life and dignity to all.

Eligibility Criteria for Admission into Leeway’s Residential Care Facility
1.     An individual must be:
      - age 65 and older; OR
      -disabled between the age of 18 and 65; or receiving SSI and/or SSD entitlements; OR
      - blind

2.    An individual must have:
      -HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and/or related conditions

3.    An individual must meet the following income requirements:
a.    Must have a minimum monthly income of $710.00
b.    Must have a maximum income of $2130.00
c.    If an individual has SSD the individual or Leeway staff will need to call Social Security to verify that the individual can get SSI supplemental to meet the minimum income requirements
d.    If the individual has SSI or SSD and their income is below $710.00 then the individual or Leeway staff needs to call Social Security  to verify that Social Security will increase the minimum income up to $710.00 to meet the minimum income requirements
4.    An individual must have the ability to live independently or with minimal assistance.

5.    An individual or representative agency  must complete the Leeway Residential Care Facility application and provide all required documentation.  Leeway’s Admissions Coordinator reviews the application and documentation to ensure that the packet is complete and offers assistance to the individual and/or referral source.

6.    An individual or representative agency must provide a current medication list and diagnoses verified by a physician or licensed clinician to ensure the continuity of care.

7.    An individual or representative agency must provide the following:


a). Results of a recent PPD or QuantiFERON test (within 30days)

b). Complete clinical information about any current or past history of TB, whether latent or active, including treatment history.
                 c). For any current respiratory illness for which TB has not been            
                      excluded as the cause, the referring medical staff needs to discuss the
                    case with the  Medical Director or the Director of Nursing.

It is especially important to know an individual’s TB status when considering admission to Leeway’s Residential Care Facility where patients with HIV live. Individuals with HIV/AIDS are at high risk for TB infection and disease.  Both for individual patients’ health and that of the entire residential community, we must be sure that anyone with potentially infectious TB is being adequately treated and is not at risk of transmitting TB to patients, residents or staff. In order to do this, we must have complete information about all applicants’ current and past TB status before they can be accepted for admission to any program at Leeway.

Insurance Information
a). Provide  written verification of payment source

Advance Directives
a)    An individual or representative agency must provide Advance Directives in the event of an emergency or incident. This data will assist  Leeway staff to address the residents wishes for their care if their Home Care provider is not accessible..