New Wake County program aims to help those on the verge of being homeless
Posted November 28, 2019 6:07 p.m. EST
Updated November 28, 2019 6:08 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The cost to live in Wake County is going up even as the county expects to shed 900 affordable housing units a year.
That mean residents who would not have imagined themselves homeless are finding themselves on the verge of not having a roof over their head.
That's partly why Wake County city officials have created a new program, known as Wake Prevent, to help catch those at risk of losing their home.
The officials say the best time to attack the homeless problem – is before a family finds themselves in the streets.
ONLINE RESOURCE: Wake County Affordable Housing info
The goal is to help people stay in their homes as they teeter on the edge of homelessness.
The program offers rental assistance and case management to help people stabilize their finances.
It is offered to families below a certain income threshold who are less than a month from becoming homeless.
There are other criteria families must meet as well.
Officials with the program say rent costs are up 35 percent in Wake County, but wages are not rising at the same level.
Families can also find themselves homeless when hard choices must be made.
Lorena McDowell, the revitalization director, for Wake County, recalls a client whose son was ill.
"And she had to decide: 'Do I pay my rent or do I pay for his health care?'" she said. "She paid for his health care. She's a mother and for that reason, she was going to lose her home. Those are the stories we hear. It is heart wrenching and it's awful to hear."
Residents who need assistance must be referred to the county to receive help from the Wake Prevent program.
The county is looking for partners to invest and expand the program in the future.