Ctrl C, Ctrl V, Share.

I copied and pasted the information below from an email. I figure- no need to rewrite when everything is spelled out so clearly. I encourage you to do the same:

Share this post.

Share the email.

Just share the information.

May 3, 2021 — Applications for emergency rental assistance are scheduled to open Wednesday, May 5. To be eligible, a household must be obligated to pay rent in Sarasota County, be either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and meet the following criteria:

  • one or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak; ​
  • one or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness** or housing instability; and​
  • the household has a household income at or below 80% of area median income.​

As a reminder, those who plan to apply are encouraged to prepare now by filing their 2020 taxes. Having a copy of your filed 2020 taxes will help expedite the application process.

If you need help filing, United Way is offering FREE tax preparation throughout Sarasota County through May 17. Tax assistance is by appointment only. Click here for a complete list of available locations.

For continual updates on eligibility and documentation requirements, visit scgov.net/rent.

**I did add the link that defines “at risk of experiencing homelessness”. For general purposes, the County Government uses the McKinney-Vento Act as a guide, but not sure if that is how they are qualifying for the purpose of rental assistance. I would check with Sarasota County today or tomorrow so you are ready for May 5th.

Fun Fact on the McKinney-Vento Act though: Do you know that we can pinpoint the time where family homelessness became a crisis? And that it happened during our millennial lifetime? Primarily, homelessness was limited to individuals, mainly individual men, before the 1980’s. Rising income inequality combined with tax decreases for the “1%” (hello, trickle down theory) and an increase in housing costs coincided with decreased (/decimated) federal housing funds which also coincided with decentrilized funding for mental health systems created a perfect storm that laid the path for a homelessness crisis.

Homelessness is the consequence of systemic inadequacies my friends. It is not the lack of hard work or bootstraps that causes its pervasiveness, but the lack of support systems (from family, communities, and governments).

So, the McKinney-Vento Act was the largest federal response to homelessness. Rep. McKinney was a (secret) bi-sexual Republican who inspired a personal hero, Barney Frank, to be the first ever US Congressman to come out as gay. Rep. Vento was a democratic champion for affordable housing, and passed away from lung complications from asbestos exposure in 2000. The OG McKinney Act (called Homelessness Assistance Act at the time) passed right after McKinney passed away from AIDS – so it was renamed in his honor. In 2000, when Rep. Vento died, then President Clinton renamed it McKinney-Vento to honor his contributions.

The McKinney-Vento Act includes many programs for assistance, but most notoriously added in protections for children experiencing homelessness, ensuring access to education and adding in coordinators for communities because, for many reasons, homelessness is seen as an issue best addressed at a local level. THAT is a whole other blog post.

FUN. FACT. Am I right? Sorry for lack of links – can share sources for anyone who is interested, but fun fact about me, I wrote my capstone in grad school on the merits of a community vs regional vs statewide shelter system, so a lot of this is the type of stuff that lives…rent free…in my head. May it now...double up…in yours. Sorry, HFF. Bad jokes but I couldn’t not.

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