Wake county families living in hotels may qualify for financial assistance

Rental rates in Wake County are up 35%, while the number of affordable housing units continues to drop by 900 every year. This stark contrast is creating a new reality for low-income families: the possibility of suddenly becoming homeless.

Starting Monday, Wake County families living in hotels may be eligible for new financial assistance to pay for housing.

The program Wake Prevent! has been around since October, helping 100 households a month cover the cost of housing. Recently, the pandemic has increased the need for housing assistance, especially for those who live in hotels.

To help those families in the most precarious of situations, Wake County’s Housing and Community Revitalization Department has launched Wake Prevent!, a new initiative under its Division of Homelessness and Prevention Services.

“Financial best practices advise you not to spend more than one-third of your income on housing, but that’s not possible for more than 40,000 Wake County residents who spend at least half of their paycheck on housing,” said Jessica Holmes, chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners. “The goal of our Wake Prevent! program is to help residents teetering on the edge of financial stability find a safe place to stay, so they can avoid sleeping on the streets.”

Wake Prevent! rental assistance and case management is available to Wake County families who are:

  • At or below 50% of the area median income (currently $46,350 for a family of four); and
  • Less than 30 days to homelessness.

They must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Currently fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence;
  • Doubling up (couch surfing) and told to leave the unit;
  • Notified by the property owner or manager that they must vacate a leased property;
  • Paying for a hotel/motel without assistance; or
  • Exiting an institution (mental/physical health, prison) with no resources or support system to assist upon release.

Wake Prevent! is referral-based and accessible through the Coordinated Entry System. To access Wake Prevent! as well as shelter and support services, individuals can contact a Coordinated Entry Access Site to set up an appointment. Coordinated Entry Access Sites are located in the following locations:

About the Department of Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization
Wake County’s Department of Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization works to implement housing affordability strategies and services that are not supported by the housing market with the end goal of making the county more affordable to more people.

The department consists of three divisions – Housing Affordability, Homelessness and Prevention Services, and Permanent Supportive Housing – working seamlessly as a unit to make living in Wake County affordable and eradicate homelessness. For more information, visit wakegov.com/housing.

NCRSOL staff is researching if similar programs are offered elsewhere in the state.

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