11/13/08 — Housing program has open city slots

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Housing program has open city slots

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 13, 2008 1:46 PM

Eastpointe residential coordinator Albert Barron has rooms and he is looking to fill them.

Since July, Barron has been working to administer two new programs through Eastpointe, the local mental health management entity, but, he said, there is still a need to get the word out about them.

The first is called "Shelter Plus Care."

"We can actually take a homeless person off the street, and if they meet the criteria, provide them with housing," he said.

Made possible by a five-year, $381,440 grant provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Barron explained the program seeks to put individuals with mental health disabilities such as bipolar disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, and major depression, into their own homes.

To qualify, applicants must have a provider working with them.

And while they are required to pay 30 percent of their income toward the rent, Barron said the program will accept and provide for people with no income, as long as they apply for Social Security Insurance or Social Security Disability Insurance, both of which are then considered income.

The program, which only pays for low- to moderate-income homes -- $375 to $500 -- pays the rent directly to the landlord.

Barron estimated that it can probably provide housing for 12 to 15 families. Currently there are three slots filled, and he hopes to receive another grant next year.

The other program Eastpointe is helping administer is a tax credit program through North Carolina Housing.

This program, Barron explained, focuses only on specific housing units, four of which are currently open in Wayne County, although he does expect more in the coming months.

This program also is based on income and mental health disability qualifications.

He explained that both programs are needed.

"We need to make sure people are aware of these programs. Housing (mentally disabled adults) is a big problem, and it's increasing, especially with the recent increase in foreclosures."

For more information on the programs, contact Barron at 587-0395 or abarron@eastpointe.net.