Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS) Housing Assistance Fund

Introduction

The Housing Services Office operates the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency (HCSA) - BHCS Housing Assistance Fund. This revolving fund was created to provide a flexible source of financial assistance to help BHCS consumers and their families move out of homelessness into stable housing of their choice and to prevent them from losing their housing. The Fund is intended to help individual consumers obtain and maintain long-term, stable housing. In order to maintain the funding source, recipients are encouraged, but not required, to give back to the Fund in order to assist others who may be in need.

Who Qualifies

Applicants for assistance must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The household seeking assistance must include an adult with a serious mental illness or child with a serious emotional disorder with an identified on-going BHCS-funded specialty mental health service provider. Only County or BHCS-contracted mental health service providers with the capacity and expectation of ongoing consumer follow-up for at least one year are eligible to assist applicants to access these funds.
  2. The household seeking assistance must be currently homeless or at-risk of homelessness:
  3. The requested assistance is expected to help stabilize the household in housing of their choice over the long-term.
  4. The service provider and applicant make a commitment to work together to achieve long term housing stability. This includes developing a housing stability plan and budget with the applicant and may also include periodic home visits, regular contact, and working relationships with the property manager to address housing-related concerns.
  5. The applicant agrees that the service provider will provide the Housing Services Office with information about the applicant’s housing situation and stability through six and twelve month check-in calls after receiving assistance.

Eligible Expenses

Eligible expenses include:

  • Unpaid, late or back rent to prevent eviction/loss of housing;
  • Security deposits and first month rent to assist with move-in;
  • Short-term rental assistance or temporary housing assistance to prevent imminent homelessness or end homelessness while more permanent housing is obtained;
  • Longer-term rental assistance for clients enrolled in the BHCS or other sub-payee program with pending Social Security funds.
Payments from the EveryOne Home Fund are made to the housing provider, landlord, or property management company.

What are the Assistance Limits?

No formal financial limit exists for this program and typical amounts are related to the monthly cost of housing. The average amount of financial assistance per applicant or household is $1,100/year. This average amount may be considered in evaluating requests.

How are Requests Approved?

Eligible service providers must submit a completed application and signed assistance agreement for the use of these funds on behalf of a particular applicant. Applicants must help develop the application, and review and sign the Housing Assistance Agreement.

Applications must include copies of rental or lease agreements and documentation of any additional expenses owed, such as back rent. If back rent is owed, the service provider and applicant should provide a detailed account of what happened in the past and what steps will be taken in the future to avoid future rent payment problems. For applicants living in subsidized housing, additional documentation and explanation of efforts to remedy the situation with the Housing Authority or housing subsidy provider prior to approval may be required.

If a service provider is unsure if an applicant qualifies for the Fund, the provider should contact the Housing Services Office prior to preparing an application for assistance to determine whether or not the request is appropriate and eligible for consideration.

Within 2 - 4 working days of submitting a completed application, the provider will be notified if the application has been approved and under what, if any, conditions. Approvals are based on the principles outlined above with extra value given to requests where short-term financial assistance can have a positive long-term, measurable impact.

How are Housing Fund Payments Made

Once a request has been approved, the service provider or landlord must provide the necessary documentation from the landlord for a payment to be made. This includes an original signed invoice from the property owner (faxed copies are not accepted), an original signedW-9 form and a vendor update form. Payment can only be made after all of these documents are received.

Checks are typically provided within five (5) business days upon receipt of the necessary paperwork. Checks may be mailed to the property owner or held at the Housing Service Office for pick up by the service provider. All funds are issued to eligible third parties, typically the landlord, property management agencies or hotel/motel operators. Funds are never paid directly to applicants.

What is Giving Back?

The best way to ensure that the Housing Fund will be able to continue to serve persons in need is if those who receive assistance agree to give back to the Fund. Recipients are encouraged to give back if they are able.

Recipients who opt to give back commit to making a small monthly contribution to the Fund when they sign the Assistance Agreement.

Applicants may make contributions through a check or money order made to: “HCSA Housing Assistance Fund” and sent to the Housing Services Coordinator by QIC Code, personal drop-off by service provider staff, or through the regular mail. Contributions can be made via payee service deductions if the applicant is utilizing BHCS payee services.

Forms & Applications

HCSA-BHCS Housing Assistance Fund Policy
HCSA-BHCS Housing Assistance Fund Application Form
To Download All of the Required Landlord/Property Management Instructions and Forms please click here.
Below is a list of the individual Landlord/Property Management Instructions and Forms for download. All forms must be completed and submitted for processing of requests.
  1. HCSA Housing Assistance Fund Owner or Manager Instructions
  2. HCSA Housing Assistance Fund Invoice Form
  3. HCSA Housing Assistance Fund Vendor Form
  4. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) W-9 Form

Housing Services Office, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services
Attn: Martin Pacheco
1900 Embarcadero, STE 206; Oakland, CA 94606
QIC Code: 28008
Tel: (510) 567-8016; Fax: (877) 341-5867 ; hso@acgov.org