What is the Hope House Housing Office?
The Hope House Housing Office is located in the Family Center and provides FREE assistance to low-income individuals and families in Hancock County with locating housing and eviction prevention. Our goal is to assist low to moderate-income people to obtain and maintain safe, decent, affordable housing either by renting or purchasing housing.
How will I be helped?
Housing Locating Assistance
- Helps you locate affordable housing and provides a housing resource list of available rentals.
- Provides information to low and moderate-income home buyers on possible purchase or homeowner education programs available within the community.
- Works closely with the Hancock Metropolitan Housing Authority.
- Helps you with Landlord/Tenant and Fair Housing issues including filing a complaint.
- Works with the client on a budget and the amount he/she can afford in rent. Affordable housing is based on the HUD standard that no more than 38% of a client’s take home pay is paid toward rent. We cannot guarantee that the client will be a good tenant. It is up to the landlord to check references, employment or complete background checks.
- Makes referrals to rental units or management-companies based upon the information received from the client or referring company. (For example: a client with only $800 income per month would not be referred to a $500 a month unit. A client with 4 children would not be referred to a one-bedroom apartment.)
- Informs the client about their responsibilities of being a good tenant and how to understand a lease agreement. We try to provide each client with a package containing a “How to be a Good Tenant,” a brief copy of the landlord/tenant and Fair Housing laws, and what to look for in an apartment.
- Offers telephone and transportation assistance when securing housing.
- Assists clients with paperwork, location of housing and transportation to view available units.
- Mediates landlord/tenant issues to prevent eviction, resolve rent disputes and other problems that may have evolved between the tenant and landlord. We refer clients to a foreclosure prevention program which may be able to renegotiate a mortgage. We advocate against predatory lending.
- Refers people to appropriate agencies for possible cash assistance to pay back-rent to avoid eviction.
Advocacy & Referrals
- Makes referrals to other agencies for financial assistance and other needed services.
- Advocates for you with outside agencies or landlords.
- Accompanies you to appointments with landlords, social service agencies or the Department of Jobs and Family Services when necessary.
- Provides information on other community services available to you.
- Assists the individual or family in obtaining services with other issues that may lead or have lead to eviction or homelessness. Such issues may include: substance abuse, domestic violence, illness or job loss, etc.
- Assesses clients and examines their needs so that appropriate referrals can be made to agencies that assist with medical, mental health, budgeting, legal, domestic violence, food, furniture, emergency housing, transportation, senior services, or other community resources.