"Thanks a lot for your help and support. I would like you to know that our family is much happier now that we have a new home and great help from you. Thank you for being so kind and understanding in helping two strangers. There should be more people like you in the world who help people who are in desperate need of help. We will always be grateful for your help." —Denise & Rob
Who We Serve
The Housing Services Office of GCCC provides housing stabilization assistance to members of the community seeking to avoid eviction and/or homelessness. It operates four unique programs designed to serve the following populations:
- individuals and families living in their own apartments who are threatened with the loss of their housing because more than 50% of their income goes to rent.
- single, homeless individuals with a history of mental illness and/or substance abuse.
- people living with HIV/AIDS within the tri-county region
- individuals and families who need emergency financial aid to avoid being evicted or to obtain affordable housing.
Why There Is a Need
Statistics from the National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2003 ranked Westchester County eighth in a list of least affordable metropolitan areas in the U.S. and stated that the minimum income needed to afford a two bedroom rental unit was $51,750. Yet individuals earning $8.00 hour for a 40-hour week, well above New York’s $6.00 minimum wage only make $16,640 annually.
As a result, low-income residents in Westchester often have difficulty finding affordable housing or meeting the high costs of their present housing.
Housing Services seeks to prevent homelessness by providing rent assistance, eviction prevention, legal assistance, and information and referral services. It operates three major programs that are funded through the County of Westchester: Shelter Plus Care, Ryan White Title I and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) in addition to a Critical Housing Support Program.
Shelter Plus Care Program
Since its inception in July 1994, this program has been administered through the Department of Community Mental Health. Jointly funded by two, five-year HUD rental assistance grants for 35 units, it combines support services (provided by a case manager) with direct rental assistance.
The program's target population is single, homeless individuals with a history of mental illness and/or substance abuse. Each participant is assisted in relocating to an affordable housing unit and in developing skills and goals that will move him/her towards stable, independent living. In accordance with the Federal HUD guidelines, each individual is required to pay 30% of their income towards his/her rent. The subsidy provided by the program covers the balance.
The program uses a sponsor-based model: GCCC leases apartments from landlords and the client has a sub-lease arrangement with GCCC. As part of GCCC's "continuum of care", eligible residents of Open Arms and Samaritan House are referred to the Shelter Plus Care Program when determined to be housing-ready.
Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA)
Started in July 1995, this program is administered through the Department of Planning. Like the Shelter Plus Care Program, it is also provided in conjunction with a HUD rental assistance grant (for 90 units).
The HOPWA program is designed to assist eligible individuals and families who are currently living in their own apartments and are threatened with the loss of their housing because more than 50% of their income goes to rent.
Case management support services are an integral component of this program with first priority given to persons living with CDC-defined AIDS or severe symptomatic HIV. The case manager assures that the participants are aware of and have access to entitlements, primary health and dental care, mental health, and nutritional support services that are appropriate to their needs.
This program uses a tenant-based model in which the participants maintain a direct landlord-tenant relationship through a lease between the two parties.
Ryan White Title I
With funding administered through the Department of Health, this program provides for short-term housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS within the tri-county region.
Specifically, it provides comprehensive eviction prevention and housing stabilization through the provision of the following services:
- Budget counseling
- Emergency payment of rent
- Utility payments to restore services or prevent utility shut-off
- Housing relocation assistance with locating affordable units and/or relocation expenses
- Legal assistance and intervention with illegal evictions, rent increases or discrimination
- Information and referral to resources and entitlements
Critical Housing Support
In 2002, GCCC initiated the "Critical Housing Support for Eviction Prevention" program to address the growing need for emergency housing aid for low-income and unemployed individuals. This program has become one of the most cost effective programs ever run by GCCC. By providing pre-screened clients with temporary and limited financial assistance, we have achieved 100% success in preventing eviction and/or homelessness among those we have been able to help.
The program assists individuals who do not qualify for any form of assistance from DSS, or who qualify, but are still are unable to meet housing expenses. Clients include the working poor, recent immigrants, the elderly and unemployed individuals looking for work.
Qualified Housing Services counselors and staff help determine what type of assistance is appropriate to avert pending eviction. Where possible, financial aid is provided to cover the cost of security deposits, rent, storage, or other short-term expenses required to keep individuals/families in their current homes or find alternative housing. If GCCC is unable to help, applicants are referred to another agency. The program is extremely efficient because, in most cases, a one-time payment of $1,000 or less has been sufficient to get clients back on their feet.
Grace Church Parish House,
35 Orchard Street, White Plains, NY 10603
Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
How You Can Help
You can help by making a financial donation or by donating non-perishable food items, linens and towels.
Contact the Director
Director: Barbara Bento-Fleming
Phone: (914) 949-0925 x 9726
To volunteer or make an in-kind donation please contact:
Phone: (914) 949-3098 x 9735