Butte CAA has been helping people keep food on the table, get their power bills paid, and break the cycle of poverty. Not surprisingly CAA has been involved in various efforts to address homelessness for several decades. In the last five years we have identified a need that is not being met by others. It is community action to find gaps in needed services and then to work with others to fill those gaps most effectively. CAA is focusing on homelessness prevention.
With our overall mission being to help people in poverty become more self-sustaining, we feel this program aligns well with our other efforts. It is also different than the California COVID-19 Rent Relief that you may have seen us promoting. Whereas that relief program is for people specifically affected by the pandemic and has an expiration date, ours does not have those same restrictions.
That doesn’t mean that if your hardship is because of the pandemic that you cannot receive aid from us. Our recommendation to you or others who you know may need such assistance is to first check out the State’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Our goal is to prevent homelessness for whatever reason and there are many. We understand that life is full of unexpected challenges and hard choices.
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The Goal is Stability
It’s better to help people stay in their current housing with help than for them to become homeless. By stabilizing households when they are at risk for eviction due to nonpayment of rent we demonstrate that prevention is better (and sometimes cheaper) than treatment. Butte County and the surrounding areas have suffered tremendous losses of housing through the last three years starting with the Camp Fire. This has made housing in the area very difficult to find and afford.
Our program started about a year ago and so far we have helped 50 households. Like many of our programs, this one is also holistic in its solutions approach. We help families pay their rent to keep them in their home, but it goes further than just financial assistance. We also meet with them to determine how they are going to continue paying rent and get them connected to resources in the community.
We were able to assist a senior citizen who was paying around 70% of her income towards rent. She was hospitalized and her husband passed away unexpectedly, but we were able to get her caught up on her payments. Our program was also able to get her connected to the Section 8 lottery. She applied and, if she is selected for the lottery, will decrease the amount of her income that is going towards rent and put her in a more stable living situation.
There were also a lot of single parent households heavily affected by the pandemic. We have a lot of stories of our program helping those families keep a roof over their head while the sole income provider was unable to work and the children were in school. Of course, these are only two examples and there are many other situations that cause a housing situation to become unstable.
How to Get Assistance
This program is on a case-by-case basis, and we determine the minimum amount of rent assistance needed. If someone is behind on rent and has a 15-day notice, they should contact our agency and see if we can assist them.
Just call the direct line at (530)-712-2600. Follow the prompts and they will get connected with an application and someone who can answer questions.
The process to apply for assistance is straightforward but does require a large amount of documentation. The application itself is about 16 pages long. We also ask for proof of income, proof of identity and other similar paperwork. The faster that portion of the application is completed the faster we can process it to determine if someone qualifies and how much aid we can provide.
This assistance is available to anyone who qualifies and is struggling to pay rent. We fund this homeless prevention program through federal funding and can design it around what we think will be most helpful. This allows us to be extra effective in targeting the use of funds. The California COVID-19 Relief Program is state-specific and requires recipients to have been impacted by COVID specifically.
We are grateful to be able to help our community in so many areas. We are only able to continue doing so with your support. When you get the word out about food donation events and other resources you amplify our impact on others. When you give your time or money you are directly helping your fellow community members. We look forward to seeing how this program continues to positively impact others. If you would like to leave your own impact, please follow the link below.