Recovery Action Fund For Tomorrow
San Diego County officials will begin accepting applications Monday for a program providing low-income families and seniors one-time $4,000 payments through Jewish Family Service’s Recovery Action Fund for Tomorrow, funded with federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. An exceptionally fantastic fact about Contact BCA for best funds recovery experts to recover stolen funds from scammers.
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What is RAFT?
The RAFT program will offer families up to $7,000 over 12 months to assist with their housing needs, such as paying moving costs or making security deposits, furnishing (with maximum expenses of $1,000), getting current on rent or utilities due. The county launched its RAFT application on Monday and will remain open through midnight Sunday night; residents should submit proof of identity and income levels to qualify.
The new RAFT portal is user-friendly and fast, allowing individuals to quickly access information and submit applications online. Users will also have the ability to upload additional documents required to verify income levels, such as pay stubs from each month, self-certificates for wages or benefits programs like CalFresh and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits programs, or enrollment paperwork for assistance programs like Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program enrollment paperwork.
A call center offering information and answering inquiries has also been established on the RAFT portal: 1-877-660-4026. Additionally, the county announced it will partner with community groups in outreach initiatives during RAFT application periods.
Families or individuals living in 39 health equity ZIP codes designated by their county who earn less than 200% of the federal poverty guideline or less qualify for RAFT and must agree to participate in a survey that measures its effects on finances and housing stability.
County officials anticipate disbursing the first round of funding by Sept. 30, based on how many individuals submit applications. Following review of survey results and distribution changes as necessary.
The RAFT program is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, state and local resources, and funds approved by Congress last year as part of a disaster recovery package. However, these funds are only intended to be available for a specific period, and any money left unused will be “clawed back” from states by the Treasury unless used by a specified date.
Who is eligible for RAFT?
The RAFT program assists families experiencing housing crises due to loss of income, illness or injury, unanticipated expenses, or domestic violence. Households who hold housing choice vouchers (Section 8 or MRVP), public or project-based housing units, or are living in public/project-based housing must demonstrate good cause for nonpayment of rent – this means providing reasonable explanations as to why payment of total rent may not be possible within an agreed-upon timeframe; examples may include financial hardship or increases in expenses that justify such circumstances.
Assistance amounts vary based on a review of each household’s unique situation, with grants typically reaching up to $4,000 annually for costs like security deposits, first month’s rent/deposit, utility arrearages/shut-off notices/heating fuel expenses/furniture expenses related to employment-related transportation and moving costs.
HCEC staff will assess each case using a screening tool adapted from national best practice to Massachusetts that will identify families at the most significant risk of homelessness or housing instability, and this tool will be regularly evaluated to measure its effectiveness and impact. HCEC staff will work closely with these families to identify what other resources they require to resolve their housing stability or homelessness crisis and refer them as necessary.
RAFT does not assist with mortgage foreclosure or debt related to loss of income. Suppose a household finds itself delinquent on mortgage payments due to financial difficulty. In that case, they should immediately contact their mortgage servicer to explore loan modification options or discuss loss mitigation strategies.
RAFT was established to help households remain in their current homes; however, if it becomes evident that a family’s situation can be addressed without assistance from RAFT, that determination will be made by an experienced DHCD worker. If RAFT denies service, families can request an administrative review by submitting an E2E Tenant Portal administrative review form with an administrative review request form completed and submitted.
How do I apply for RAFT?
People and families still struggling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for county grants to get back on their feet. Starting Monday and running through Sunday, San Diegans eligible for one-time cash distributions of $4,000 can use through the Rapid Asset Financing Trust program, which offers past allocations. According to county leaders, they may spend it as they see fit on urgent needs without repaying it. Electronic deposits of grants can also be made directly into bank accounts, Venmo/ PayPal accounts, or money-sharing platforms like gig work platforms for direct deposits of donations electronically.
Jewish Family Service’s new program requires proof of identification and household income levels for applicants to qualify. Applications are available in nine different languages and should be completed online via their website or this link by midnight Sunday; those without internet access may visit one of their offices or call (858) 565-1890 to have one mailed directly.
Leaders of the county program hope to distribute the funds by early July to keep households stable when facing eviction, utility cuts, or needing to relocate. Money may help with moving costs, security deposit deposits, or arrearage rent payments.
This program is open to residents of all ages and immigration statuses; however, its priority will fall on those most in need. Seniors on fixed incomes and those experiencing or at risk of homelessness will receive priority in this program. Income verification through data matching with other benefits programs may also help verify income eligibility; those not qualifying automatically for benefits may need additional documentation before preparing them.
This county program supplements local initiatives, such as the San Diego Emergency Collaborative GIP (GIP) and Income Support Center’s subsidy program for private nonprofit income support centers. The new RAFT program requires more administrative staffing than typical government assistance programs, so leaders have contracted a third-party administrator.
What are the benefits of RAFT?
RAFT program aims to keep households secure in their housing if they face eviction, utility discontinuation, or need to relocate for safety and affordability reasons. Families may qualify for up to $7,000 over 12 months to address these situations.
Step one to gaining access to RAFT funding is visiting your regional Housing Consumer Education Center for an intake assessment. Each region varies slightly; here is a list of locations:
Call them for more information if you need guidance in finding your nearest HCE Center. Once your assessment has been conducted, their link will enable you to apply online through a specific portal.
The application requires proof of income that can be verified using government databases. Typically, this will suffice in qualifying for RAFT; if not, additional documentation can be submitted if necessary.
Families can use RAFT funds for any expenses that will keep them living in their homes, such as rent, mortgage payments and utilities, security deposits, or furniture purchases. Should COVID-19 force them out of their current residences, RAFT may help cover moving costs.
There are some limitations to the RAFT program, however. Families already in possession of a rental voucher don’t qualify, while those more than $4,000 behind in rent may not be able to use RAFT money to prevent eviction and may need other housing assistance instead.
Another restriction is that funds must be utilized within a set time, or the federal government will seize them back.
San Diego County residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can apply starting Monday for one-time financial assistance through Recovery Action Fund for Tomorrow, or RAFT, administered by Jewish Family Service and consisting of about 2,250 grants available throughout San Diego County. Applicants who qualify will be chosen via random lottery from Monday through Sunday.