Success Stories

March 2015

I, Mrs. O, was homeless living in a motel with my son. I learned about the Housing Support Program through my one stop worker Gloria Munoz. After she referred me, I was contacted by Juanita from HRC, made an appointment, and went into the office to fill out paper work. Within a month or so, I was housed and was helped with the deposit and first month’s rent. I was also helped with a refrigerator, stove and a bed. Now I’m more confident in myself to be able to live on my own and to care for me and my son, who is 7 years old. I am very thankful and blessed. Thank you to HRC for helping single mothers who are struggling. Now I can sleep better at night knowing that my son and I have a place to sleep. Thanks to everyone that helped me!

Mi nombre es Mrs. M y quiero dar mi testimonio a cerca del programa Housing Resource Center que tanto nos a ayudando a mí y a mi familia. Cuando yo supe de este y 2 niñas y mi pareja y no teníamos vivienda por problemas económicos y personales. Nos quedamos sin casa estábamos durmiendo en un carro y en un cuarto. Departamento de Servicios Sociales me recomendó con ellos y en cuanto ellos supieron que no teníamos donde quedarnos rápidamente Juanita que la que se encarga de mi caso se tomo la molestia de ir por nosotros adonde estábamos y no llevo a un hotel y mientras de 2 semanas. Nos ayudaron a tener una casa camas una estufa y un refrigerador. Gracias a toda la gente que hace posible esta programa y que lo has con el corazón.

1/20/15
Today a smiling, laughing, happy gentleman stepped in to our office. Following along on a leash was a small little dog in an army green sweater. Both were greeted with a similar smile from staff and welcomed to the Housing Resource Center.

This happy face was not the one our office saw less than a year ago. The person that walked through the door back then was alone, angry, and quite frankly, not someone you would want to approach. He was a Vietnam Veteran that had been living on the street for over 10 years, and as one might imagine, looked every bit the part. He had a VA medical card, but had long since given up on the Veterans Administration—or anyone else–helping him improve his life. That is, until he was asked by a complete stranger on the street if he had ever served in the military. The person asking the question—an HRC Veteran Case Manager–had too served in the military, and they soon found they had much in common.

The change did not happen overnight. The Veteran had several obstacles to conquer, including no state ID or License, a lost DD214 and military record, and no means of transportation. He was not very trusting at first and it took a great deal of persistence, by the entire team, to show him that he truly mattered. One of his greatest challenges was that he often got in his own way. As it turns out, he has severe social anxiety that presents as anger. He often scared those who encountered him. He had been asked not to return to several local and government offices. The VA Medical Center staff knew him well. He had applied for HUD VASH housing assistance years before but had not completed the process.

With time and patience, things started moving in a whole new direction. With HRC’s help, he starting receiving a small service-connected pension, and was able to apply for disability. He finally completed the application process for HUD VASH and was given a housing voucher. Soon after, we helped him locate and lease an apartment. Through SSVF funds the application fee, deposit, and first month’s rent was paid.

Several months later he is still in his apartment. He sleeps on a bed instead of a blanket in the park. He has food and a place to cook and eat it. He has friends and a support system. And of course… he now has Pebbles, the very tiny, furry friend, who was also wandering the streets looking for someone to care. You might say they saved each other…with a little help from HRC.

Emergency Rental Assistance

Earlier this year, a family in need was referred to HRC by Steinbeck Realty. The family had been served with a 3-Day Notice to pay or quit. They were within three days of being evicted, with their children, from their home. With nowhere else to go, and no savings, the family would have become homeless. They had already exhausted any and all other resources available to them.

The family lives in Salinas, where the rent for their three-bedroom unit is $1,700. They had fallen behind on rent payments because the father’s job, a seasonal position at Tanimura & Antle, ended in December. The father had applied and was receiving some unemployment benefits, but the payment was not enough for the family to get by through the winter. Additionally, his unemployment benefits were not being paid on time, which put a further strain on their already tenuous financial situation.  The mother has a medical condition which prevents her from working outside the home. She is the primary caregiver for their children.

The family completed an intake interview with Lead Case Manager Juanita Ruvalcaba at HRC. Juanita assessed their situation and found them to be qualified for HRC homeless prevention services. Due to a generous grant from the United Way and additional support from the Community Action Partnership (CAP), we were able to provide Case Management and Financial Literacy Education services.

Fortunately Juanita, over years of working closely together to house families in need, has developed a very positive relationship with this landlord. She got in touch with the landlord  right away.  Juanita was able to assure the landlord that HRC would, with another generous grant from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, be able to pay one full month’s rent for the family.  And that Juanita would be working closely with the family to assess them for additional services and assistance, increase their income, reduce their expenses, create a sustainable budget, and make better financial decisions. With HRC’s assurance, the landlord and property owner were willing to allow the family to stay in their unit while they continued to work with HRC.  “They are an excellent family,” said the landlord.  With that one month of emergency financial rental assistance, and ongoing intense case management and education, the family learned to manage their money more wisely, and to create and keep to a reasonable budget.  They are now able to keep up with their rent and all other expenses.

 

Martha, a single parent and seasonal worker, applied to HRC for emergency deposit and rent assistance. In October of 2011, she had lost her home due to foreclosure. After the foreclosure, Martha and her daughter, a middle school student, became homeless. In 2012, Martha was diagnosed with a temporary medical condition that kept her from working as a seasonal worker.

For more than a year, the family struggled to obtain housing. When possible, Martha rented a room, or stayed in local homeless shelters, however the lack of affordable housing and rental assistance made any permanent housing impossible. She was referred to HRC by Monterey County Department of Behavioral Health.

The family’s intake assessment revealed that their only income was cash aid and food stamps; sufficient only for a studio or a one-bedroom unit. The HRC Case Manager worked to create a sustainable budget for Martha, and was able to find a studio for her at Plaza Grande in Salinas. HRC paid the deposit of $650.00 and the first month’s rent of $460.00 to enable the family to move into the unit. Martha and her young daughter are now safely and affordably housed.

A single female came to HRC to seek help for homeless prevention services. She lost her job in early July of 2013, and this kept her from paying her rent. She resided in a studio in Monterey where she paid $695 per month with utilities included.

In early August, her landlord served her with a three-day eviction notice. She was given an appointment on Aug. 9, 2013, to see a HRC case manager. We met her, and helped her gather all her information, and complete her application within two weeks, while at the same time working with her landlord to keep her in her home.  By Aug. 30, 2013, she was approved for $695 to cover August rent. With help from HRC, she found a new job at the end of August, and is now able to pay her rent and other expenses.

She was very happy that HRC was able to help her get back on her feet.

Veteran’s Programs

A senior Veteran became homeless following the death of his wife in September. He lost his home because he could no longer pay his rent with his Social Security income. He began sleeping in his van because he had no family in California.  

He was able to obtain veteran services, including a HUD VASH (Veterans Administration Supportive Housing) voucher, and applied for VA medical services and Medicare. He then applied to HRC for the security deposit program offered for Veterans. He was having trouble finding a place to live because of the high cost of rent and deposits on the Monterey Peninsula. After looking for almost three weeks, he was able to find a unit that was affordable, but without our help, he would not have been able to afford the deposit, his VASH voucher would have expired, and he would have remained homeless.           

Here at HRC,  we provide services to those Monterey County residents who live in extremely low-income households. A review of his income and expenses revealed that he was eligible to receive $826 toward his deposit. We paid his deposit.With HRC’s help, he was able to move into a one-bedroom, affordable unit in Monterey.

The Veteran was very pleased with HRC services, is no longer homeless, and continues to live in his affordable unit.

Foreclosure Prevention

Mrs. A. came in to HRC with a Notice of Trustee Sale scheduled within the next four days. She had lived in her home for the past 19 years and was seeking our help to keep her home. Mrs. A. had an adjustable rate mortgage, and had not been able to keep up with the new, higher, payments.

The HRC Housing Counselor called Wells Fargo and submitted a workout packet right away. The Counselor was also able to talk to one of the Vice Presidents of the bank and stop the sale date, despite the short notice. After 12 months of submitting documents to Wells Fargo, with HRC’s help Wells Fargo finally gave Mrs. A.  a loan modification. Her monthly home mortgage payment dropped from $3,123.59 to just $1,879.16 per month. The modification also stated that if 12 monthly payments were made on time, she would be granted a principle reduction of $117,000.

Mrs. A. was very happy and grateful that HRC was able to help her prevent foreclosure and keep her home with an affordable payment.

Home Buyer Assistance

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is a Monterey County program that provides low-income families the opportunity to purchase a home through the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County. Clients can apply and receive as much as $50,000 toward the purchase of an NSP home.

On Aug. 25, 2011, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program purchased a home in Seaside for the total amount of $247,500, a total not including $34,972 for rehabilitating and maintaining the property. The home then was purchased by County NSP, and would be listed at $225,500 for re-sale through the NSP program.

HRC met with Ms. C on Feb. 23, 2012. Mrs. C. demonstrated enthusiasm as she began the application process and provided all documents needed to purchase the Seaside home in a timely manner. Ms. C. was pre-approved through her lender in the amount of $184,500. Within a month of starting the process and providing items needed to complete the packet, Ms. C.’s application packet was approved as completed and clean to purchase a home through the NSP program.

On May 31, 2012, Ms. C. purchased the home for $225,000. The client received a total of $40,500 in NSP funds toward the purchase.

Ms. C. was just one of the many clients we have helped qualify for the purchase of a NSP home.