The Survey's Takeaway

The COVID-19 Survey’s Takeaway

On March 27, we published and shared a survey on our website. We wanted to “knock on the door” of our neighbors to ask them how the pandemic was impacting them. The responses obtained were crucial, not only to understand the consequences of the health crisis and economic downturn across South Florida communities but, more importantly, these responses helped us to design new educational programs and counseling services to assist families and residents in navigating through the pandemic in the best possible way.

The first takeaway from the survey was no surprise: The lack of savings and a poorly managed debt history continues to be one of the main obstacles to financial stability among low- and moderate-income residents. We need financial education, not only to restructure family budgets after they are hit by an unforeseen situation (such as loss of income, unemployment or illness) but to lay a solid foundation on which to build wealth and economic opportunities. Our Financial Fitness and Are You Financially Ready for COVID-19?  workshops address precisely these problems and offer educational tools to improve the financial health of the participants.

Question #2 Results

Another important takeout from the survey is the extremely precarious situation in which renters live in South Florida and even more so among the African-American and Hispanic communities. Past and recent studies[1] show that 64% of African-American and Hispanic renter households are cost-burdened (their annual income is well below $ 35,000 and their housing expense is more than 30% of their income). The survey only confirms this data: 45% of those surveyed said their main concern has been falling behind on their rent and their fear of eviction. Based on these results, we activated an Emergency Assistance Program for Broward Residents, we are partially administering the ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance) Program on behalf of the City of Miami, and we also offer the Rental Workshop to respond to questions and challenges renters currently face.

Question #2 Results

One of the four pillars on which we sustain our mission and pursuit of goals is that data and data analysis inform our ideas, actions, products, and services. The survey -that you can read in full here– is in line with that vision and is part of our efforts to continue striving shoulder to shoulder with the most vulnerable communities and families across South Florida.

If you want to support our commitment, you can DONATE and show us your love on our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), following us, and sharing our posts with your friends and family.

 

 


[1] See “Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Framework” published by Miami for All on July 2, 2020: https://indd.adobe.com/view/c227b935-d161-477a-bcc2-29aaf84859d0


sunshine through palm trees

Getting back in the swing of things

Whenever an accident happens, it takes anyone out of balance. Now imagine two unfortunate events occurring one after the other: the foundations of what until then was a normal life are in danger of collapsing.

 

Luz Granja works at her desk as she processes an application for emeregency assistance for a fresident of Broward county.
Luz, our program processor, working very hard on every case to expedite the very much needed aid.

That is precisely what happened to K. and J., both Broward County residents, who have received assistance to cover their house rent, through our NHSSF C19 Emergency Relief Program secured with funding from the Community Foundation of Broward.

Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began, K. had a stroke, her roommate is disabled, and she works independently. This health episode – amid a health and economic crisis that was beginning – directly affected her financial and existential livelihood: the stroke forced her to rest, but resting and recovering meant for her to stop working and, therefore, stop receiving an income.

In this desperate situation, Kelly searched through Google anyone to help her with her bills. To her surprise, the NHSSF program appeared on the list and contacted us immediately to apply. The help provided has had a definite impact on his present life:

It stopped me from having another episode and getting me back on track with my health. It has been a couple of hard months trying to get back in the swing of things. Thanks to you at NHSSF, I think it will become possible.”

No one should have to choose between regaining their health versus the need for an economic income, and that’s just what Kelly would like authorities to do:

I would like for the local or state authorities to advertise more (assistance programs like NHSSF) and extend their reach a litter further financially where I, and others like me in my situation, should be able to recover and not forced to go back the work right away.

 

 

Thank you, K and J., for your trust and patience.

God bless you!

 

 

About the Program 

Starting in May, meaningful housing relief is being delivered to help residents focus on regaining employment and get back on their feet without the fear of losing the roof over their heads because they’ve failed to meet their rent or mortgage payments. Applications to the NHSSF C19 Relief Program for Broward residents can be sent through the NHSSF website. Aid will be available in a first-come, first-served scenario until funds run out. For more information, Broward families can call 211 Broward, send us an email to info@nhss.org or call us at 305-751-5511.


photo of the Fort Lauderdale skyline

NHSSF COVID-19 Relief Fund Emergency Funds for Distressed Families (Broward County Residents Only)

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (NHSSF) has been on the forefront of assisting South Florida communities of need for over 40 years.  Our core mission is to promote financial well-being and prosperity among low-wealth neighborhoods by facilitating and securing homeownership for thousands of residents across Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, through our financial and homeownership literacy programs, housing counseling and lending products and services.

In the wake of this pandemic, and thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation of Broward, we will provide one-time emergency assistance to distressed Broward families impacted by the coronavirus to maintain housing stability. Funding will be available in the form of one-half assistance for rent; full or partial mortgage payments for those households not covered by FHA, Fannie or Freddie; and/or financial assistance to cover HOA, condo, or escrow fees.

 

Program Options and Requirements

Eligible ApplicantsProgram General RulesProgram Processing Documentation
Total family income at or below $50,000Provide tax returnsState ID, Driver’s License, Utility Bill
Impacted by C19 (COVID-19)• Lost job
• Lost part time job
• Lost income
• Infected
Provide documentation such as letter from employer
Assistance Options
Rental AssistanceA one-half payment up to $800Paid directly to landlord
Mortgage Assistance• For mortgage holders no government backed
• Pay mortgage up to $1200
• Pay escrows up to $500
• Pay HOA fees up to $300
• Pay Condo Fees up to $300
Total maximum of $1500
• Must agree to intake with HBE counselor (one-on-one counseling session)
• Paid directly to loan servicer
One-time assistanceYou can only apply once for one category of assistance.Payments are made directly to the landlord, property management firm, or loan servicer

Additional Program Requirements

  1. Applicant/Landlord must not be receiving household subsidies from any other federal, state, and/or local program for the unit the applicant is living in. Such programs include, but are not limited to: Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher / Mod-Rehab, HOPWA Tenant Based Rental Assistance, Public Housing, Section 202, or VASH.
  1. Rent, Mortgage, and Utilities must be current as of February 2020.
  2. Must not have liquid assets or other sources of capital from where rent and utilities can be paid from.
  3. Proof applicant is current on payments of rent or mortgage payment as of February 2020;
  4. From your landlord: They will need to provide the City with a W-9 form and ACH (Direct Deposit) form.

Required Documentation

If receiving a preliminary approval for assistance, below is the documentation you will be required to provide within 5 business days of approval.

  • Proof of residency: rent payment coupon, mortgage payment coupon, utility bill, state id, driver’s license
  • Job termination letter, unemployment verification letter or other proof that you lost your employment on or after March 1, 2020;
  • Copy of paystubs for all members of your household, if any, Social Security Award Letter, etc.
  • Copy of bank statement(s), annuity statements or any other documentation showing personal assets.
  • Authorization to Release Information Form, if applicable;
  • Copy of current executed lease agreement under applicant’s name or showing applicant as tenant. (The address of the property listed on the lease agreement must be located within Broward County)

 

Apply for the Emergency Relief Fund from NHSSF
and the Community Foundation of Broward

You have gone through NHSSF Relief Fund options and requirements and you are ready to apply? Please fill out this form online or call us at 305-751-5511 to start the process. Once we’ve received your application and collect the documentation required (Please NOTE: Upload only scanned documents in PDF format and comprised files (if necessary). Pictures and separate, single files WON’T BE ACCEPTED AS VALID and will delay or even stop your application process), we will proceed with the last part of the process (HBE registration (if applicable) or payment) in a timely manner.

For more information, please call us at 305-751-5511 or send us an email to info@nhssf.org and Ms. Cruz (our program processor) will reach back to you by the end of the day.

Thank you for your trust: We are here to help our communities thrive, and like in past crises, we will!