Connect with us

Local News

Plano expands homelessness prevention program



PLANO, TX – The city of Plano expanded its homelessness prevention program to fit the needs of residents affected by pay cuts, layoffs and other financial burdens.

For several years, Plano’s Neighborhood Services department has worked alongside the Assistance Center of Collin County to prevent residents from becoming unhoused in Plano. Under the homelessness prevention program, individuals and families collect financial assistance from the city upon receiving a notice to vacate their homes. Now, the program loosened some of its criteria for obtaining assistance.

Neighborhood Services Grant Analyst Natalie Evans said the city made the decision after determining many residents were unprotected from experiencing homelessness.

“What we know is that there are apartment complexes and landlords that are working with people and not moving as quickly to issue those notices, but those people still need the assistance,” Evans said. “We don’t want anyone to accrue so many months that they can’t catch up.”

The city is paying for the expansion with existing funds and forthcoming dollars from the CARES Act. The estimated total for assistance will be around $820,000.

The expansion covers residents living in hotel rooms. “Previously it was rent and utility payments, and we expanded it to include hotels and mortgages because we know, unfortunately, some people are in a situation that they’re living in a hotel,” Evans said.

Those living in hotel rooms will be offered assistance for up to four weeks under current regulations. According to Evans, case managers will work with individuals and families while in the program. The managers will work to “establish a stability plan in the short term and what they can work on whether that’s continuing to file for unemployment or look for work if they can.”

For rent and mortgage assistance, Evans said renters and buyers simply need a late notice and proof of “a lack of resources” to qualify for funds.

“The assistance, as it stands right now with the regulations, we can only help up to three months. It can be up to 80% of the median income which is the max income limit,” Evans said. “For a family of four that is $66,500 a year.”

Collin County announced this month it will distribute funds to people in need as well. Evans said the neighborhood services department is working with three other major cities in the county to identify nonprofits and organizations that will administer the dollars.

Plano, Frisco, Allen and McKinney are looking in and outside their cities for the organizations.

The best way to apply for assistance in Plano is through the Assistance Center of Collin County, according to Evans. The center can be reached at 972-422-1125.