Virginia Rental Assistance Program & Trust Fund

RENTAL ASSISTANCE REQUEST

If you are contacting SALT to request Rental Assistance, we are so sorry to hear of your difficulty. Unfortunately, SALT is an advocacy organization that has no money. One of the primary statewide sources available for you is 211. If your have not already dialed 211, please give it a try. You will be connected to a trained professional who can provide referrals to health and human services.

We truly regret that we can't provide you with financial assistance. However, there is one more thing that you can do and that is contact your Virginia State Delegate and your State Senator. We elected them and they need to hear your story concerning your housing needs in order to aware of their constituent’s needs and to be responsive to the needs out there.  You should contact your state legislators at: VA legislators: http://legis.state.va.us/.

Hoping that things will soon improve for you, john & SALT

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Our SALT Rental Assistance Proposal

Social Action Linking Together (SALT) is teaming up with other like-minded organizations to propose the Virginia Rental Assistance Program.

The beginning of Virginia’s legislative Session in January seems a long way off, but the Governor’s budget is already being prepared. We need to act now to get and keep housing on the agenda. We are off to a good start working with  knowledgeable and hard working legislators including once homeless Delegate Charniele Herring.

Rationale:

Families who could not otherwise afford independent housing, such as women with children moving from welfare to work, or working families in shelters, are priority targets for rental assistance. The program would provide time-limited assistance to provide the stability families need to advance in their work and achieve full independence. As their wages increase, their rental assistance would decline.

Action Items:

We cannot stress enough the importance of your advocacy. A letter or two will have some impact, but a stack will bring attention to the proposal. A suggested outline for your letters appears in the “3 Minute Letter” (attached) available from SALT by request, but your own experience and thoughts make your letter unique and authentic. Please do what you can!

Familiarize yourself with the issue by reviewing our “Renal Assistance Program" and "Rental Assistance & Trust Fund"  and "Rental Assistance-House"Fact Sheets attached.

Share the Rental Assistance Fact Sheets and your thoughts with other people you know and organizations with which you are affiliated, civic groups neighborhood associations, PTAs, businesses, etc.

Ask your church and other groups to show their support for the homeless and low-income working poor by participating in the Home For the Holidays letter writing campaign by using the “Home For the Holidays” green card, and the “Rental Assistance 3- Minute Advocacy Letter”.

Please contact SALT at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.\"">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Budget Amendment for Rental Assistance
Rental Assistance Fact Sheet #1
Rental Assistance 3 Minute Advocacy Letter (Delegate & Senator)
3-Minute Letter/Know Your Legislator (Reverse side) by request only
Home For the Holidays Card (Green) by request only
Home For the Holidays Bulletin Announcements (Sample)

Let us know how your letter campaign is succeeding and let us know how SALT can support your efforts.

Please contact SALT at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.\"">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request the electronic versions of any of the following documents:

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BUDGET AMENDMENT FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE

The Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and SALT requests a $2.4 million budget amendment from TANF funding to create a pilot program to provide rental assistance to fill the gap between income and housing costs for working poor families and individuals.

The program would provide rental assistance to fill the gap between 30% of an eligible family's income and Fair Market Rent. The expectation is that the assistance would decline as the family's income (and housing contribution) increases which would allow for additional households to enter the program.

Example:

The Smith family earns $1257/month[1].  Their housing budget is $377.[2]  Fair Market Rent average cost for a 2 bedroom apartment in Virginia is $941.[3]  Rental Assistance, equal to the difference between their housing budget and Fair Market Rent, would be $564/month.

It is estimated that 375 families (over 2000 people) could be served through a $2.4 million pilot project in the first year, and that the cost per family for rental assistance would be less than the cost of emergency shelter over the same period.

Preference would be given to families leaving welfare for work and working families and individuals unable to leave shelter due to the difference between their housing budget and area rents.

The Department of Housing and Community Development could manage this pilot project through its existing Homeless Intervention Program (HIP) sites, minimizing administrative costs, preventing the need for additional bureaucracy, and ensuring that funds go directly to families and individuals in need.

Built into the project will be rigorous, appropriate and ongoing accountability mechanisms to evaluate whether the program is effectively moving Virginia families from welfare to economic independence through work, supporting working families and individuals in moving from shelter to independent housing, and complying with TANF regulations.
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[1] Hourly wage  $7.25, VA  minimum wage 7/09

[2] National standard for housing budget, one-third of income, HUD, 2008

[3] FMR for 2 bedrm apt in VA, Out of Reach, Nat\'l Low Income Housing Coalition 2008

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VIRGINIA RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

FACT SHEET #1

Rental Assistance addresses the crisis of homelessness

Over 80,000 people were turned away from shelter and support services in FY 2007.1  Assisting working families and individuals to move from shelters to housing will open the doors to chronically homeless persons now being turned away for lack of space

Rental Assistance benefits Virginia children

Studies have shown that children in stable housing maintain better school attendance rates, perform better in school, are less likely to drop out, and are healthier than children on housing waiting lists, living in substandard housing or homeless shelters.

Rental Assistance allows workers needed time

Workers need time to find or qualify for higher-paying jobs, or to complete job training and placement programs.  Rental Assistance can help families move to safer neighbor-hoods with better access to jobs and transportation services.

Rental Assistance promotes economic growth

Every dollar a family receives for Rental Assistance is a dollar to be spent at local businesses for the family's basic needs and employment-related expenses.  These spent dollars provide economic growth for local businesses and neighborhoods and taxes to state government.

Rental Assistance is cost-effective

In 2007, over 33% of shelter residents held jobs; most worked full-time.  Rental Assistance will assist these residents move out of shelters and into private housing, at less than half the cost.    

Rental Assistance is consistent with Virginia's goals

Rental Assistance is a needed, effective, and cost-saving program, consistent with Virginia's goals.  It gives temporary assistance to needy families and individuals as they strive for self-sufficiency and independence through work.  Rental Assistance promotes Welfare Reform and the well-being of Virginia's low-income families.

1 Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development 2008 Report.  For further information please contact Sue Capers, at \'; document.write( \'\' ); document.write( addy_text46655 ); document.write( \'<\\/a>\' ); //-->\\n  Aug. ‘08

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Legislative Advocacy in 3 Minutes or Less

Rental Assistance

In just minutes, you can make a difference in the lives of homeless and working poor Virginians.  Support their efforts to work their way home:  write your State Delegate or Senator a short message supporting Rental Assistance for the working poor.  Here's how:

1. CLEARLY STATE YOUR REQUEST. Ask your legislator to support Rental Assistance for Virginia's working poor.

2. STATE ONE OR TWO REASONS IN YOUR LETTER.  FEEL FREE TO USE SOME OF THE IDEAS BELOW, OR COMBINE THEM WITH YOUR OWN IDEAS.

Rental Assistance is a proven, effective, and cost-saving program.

Rental Assistance can keep a family in independent housing for about half the cost of providing emergency shelter for the same family.

Rental Assistance will help to assure that people moving from welfare to work also work their way out of poverty and homelessness.

Rental Assistance for the working poor helps local economies.  Families spend their disposable income in local businesses to buy food, clothing, and other necessities.

Children in stable homes maintain better school attendance, perform better in schools, are less likely to drop out, and are healthier than children living in shelters.

Homeless Virginians need your help.  Rental Assistance meets immediate basic human needs.

3. CLOSE.

Tell your legislator that you'd like to know how they plan to vote.                                

Put your name and address on the note as well as on the envelope, so your representative knows you are a constituent.

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SAMPLE LETTER--RENTAL ASSISTANCE

Dear Senator (Delegate) ___________:

As a constituent, I am writing to urge you to support Rental Assistance for Virginia's working poor.  Time-limited Rental Assistance will help low-income working Virginians fill the gap between their income and housing costs. Rental Assistance can be provided for about half the cost of providing emergency shelter.

Rental Assistance is a proven, effective, and cost-saving program.  Rental Assistance reinforces the value of work, provides a transition for single moms from welfare to work, and moves low-income workers from shelters to homes.  Housing stability supports family stability-and stable homes help children achieve in school and parents advance at work.

Rental Assistance also supports local economies, as working families buy the things they need to survive and thrive.

I hope that I can count on your support for Rental Assistance.  I look forward to hearing about your position and your vote.

Sincerely,

________________________

(name and address)

_________________________________________________________________________

Legislators do not respond to form letters, so take a moment and make this letter your own.  To contact your legislator during the session, write:

(Senators)                                         (Delegates)

The Honorable ____________            The Honorable _____________

P.O. Box 396                                     P.O. Box 406

Richmond, VA 23219                          Richmond, VA 23218

__________________________________________________________________________

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You can request the 3-Minute letter/message for Renatal Assistance (above) & the Home for the Holidays (Green Card) from SALT at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..\"">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Last Year, 80,681 Virginians Asked for Shelter.

51,315 were turned away (Fact Sheet #2)

Across the Commonwealth, shelters and transitional housing programs are filled to overflowing.  Most of the 29,366 people served by shelters and transitional housing programs in 2007 had jobs-and most of their jobs were full-time.  But these workers do not earn enough to afford the high costs of housing.  National standards suggest a household cannot sustain housing costs that are more than 30% of income.  In Virginia, this means a minimum wage worker would have to work 100 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment!  Thousands of working poor people-and more than 7500 children-are trapped in Virginia's shelters and transitional programs, which means 51,315 other people are locked outside.

Rental Assistance bridges the growing gap between wages and housing costs.  Rental Assistance helps working people move out of shelters and transitional housing programs, and helps others move into shelter and off the streets.

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Home for the Holidays-Letter Writing Campaign

(Sample Bulletin Announcement)

Once again SALT (Social Action Linking Together) is supporting a time limited rental assistance program to help low income working Virginians fill the gap between their income and housing costs. Rental assistance can be provided for about half the cost of providing emergency shelter and avoid the trauma, particularly to children, of being homeless.

The Home for the Holidays initiative is a three minute way to ask your Virginia Senators and Delegates to support this measure. By writing a short note on a Home for the Holidays card, you can indicate your support for Rental Assistance. On the weekend of December 6th-7th 2008, (Select your dates) cards and suggested text will be available at all Masses/services for you to write a short message to your Senator and Delegate expressing your support for this worthy initiative.  The names and addresses of the Senators and Delegates along with their districts by zip code will be available. Please consider stopping by marthex, etc. (specify location) to write a card to show your support.

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