Homeless prevention program to take applications

WICHITA — A federal program that helps prevent homelessness will begin taking local applications from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Aug. 13.

Applicants must call 211 for a preliminary screening before seeking help from the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. The program is administered locally by the city of Wichita, Catholic Charities and the United Way of the Plains.

Funds are used to pay for past-due utilities and rent or pay for costs to move into an affordable rental property, said Mary K. Vaughn, director of the city's housing and community services.

Funds cannot be used to make mortgage payments, she said.

The city issued the following eligibility guidelines:

* Applicants must have a stable or consistent income, or immediate plans to obtain an income.

* Annual income cannot exceed: $22,300 for one person, $25,500 for two, $28,300 for three, $31,850 for four, $34,400 for five, $36,950 for six, $39,500 for seven and $42,050 for eight.

* Applicants must be homeless or have imminent threat of becoming homeless. They also must not have any other housing options, such as staying with family.

* Applicants must show they can maintain housing on their own after receiving short-term, temporary help from the program.

The city has assisted 100 families since the program began in November 2009.

The federal program received $1.5 billion from the stimulus package that was signed by President Obama in February 2009.