A new program that offers financial help to people who are homeless or are about to become homeless will start Monday.
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program will pay rent and utilities for up to 18 months for those who qualify.
The program is part of the federal stimulus bill.
People who are homeless or are about to be can call 211 for an initial screening.
After that, they will be referred to another agency to finish the application. Catholic Charities will handle those who are homeless and the United Way of the Plains will take care of those who are about to become homeless.
The program is limited to 275 applicants because the city only has about $1.2 million in stimulus money for the program.
If money remains after the first round of applicants, more applications will be accepted.
People will generally get assistance within two weeks, said Mary K. Vaughn, director of the city’s Housing and Community Services Department.
Officials will negotiate with landlords and utility companies to help ensure qualified applicants aren’t evicted and get a fair payment plan.
Rental prices will be vetted by the agencies to ensure the money isn’t spent on high-end living.
The program won’t help with mortgages.
Those facing foreclosure can apply to the Making Home Affordable Program, which is designed to help people facing mortgage foreclosure.
To learn more about the mortgage program, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.