No funds left for MVAC’s homeless prevention program
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The pressure brought on by the pandemic impacted our work, shopping, and social calendars. It also spiked the demand for rental assistance.
Due to this high demand, the Minnesota Valley Action Council actually ran out of funding for the 2021-22 year for homeless prevention. Helping out more than 220 families.
At the beginning of the year, MVAC had $400,000 for homeless prevention, but due to the unprecedented number of families who needed assistance, they closed new applications for funding effective immediately at the end of July.
“First we did CHAP, then we did rent help, then we continued with that demand through family homeless prevention,” MVAC Executive Director Amanda Mackie said. “And in helping all of those folks that are coming through the door needing help those funds got spent must faster than we would normally anticipate.”
MVAC has worked with other area organizations to help their clients, but says it’s especially challenging to provide a safety net for people on what’s called “the benefits cliff.” People in that group have an income that’s over the poverty line but not enough to make ends meet.
“When we drilled down as to what’s going on, for one of the first times, I heard clients say, what I make isn’t enough,” Mackie said. “I don’t have the buying power I used to.”
The Southwest Minnesota Housing Program marked 30 years at an event Thursday, pointing out that due to higher cost of living and personal circumstances, the need for rental assistance isn’t going anywhere.
“When we can’t meet a need, and we know that people are doubling up and living in substandard housing,” said Kristie Blankenship, chief operating officer of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Program. “It’s frustrating that we aren’t able to do enough for them.”
Advice for those who had been counting on rental assistance that’s no longer available: for now, stay in contact with the organization you are currently with to see if they can match you with another program
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