Over the years, FHR has developed many partnerships whose efforts and services have assisted FHR in advancing its affordable-housing mission. Among the partners are the Pima County Industrial Development Authority and the Southern Arizona Land Trust. Where funding of FHR’s crucial programs has been concerned, relationships with government entities such as the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), the Arizona Department of Housing, The Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Pima County, and the City of Tucson have provided, in varying degrees, generous support.
In recent years, however, the radically-changed economic climate at national, state, and local levels has resulted in a substantial reduction in funding assistance from those government entities, which now is jeoparding vital FHR programs. Consequently, in late 2013, FHR established a Development Office for the purpose of seeking and securing support of those programs from private philanthropic sources. Because FHR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, grants and gifts in support of its life-changing efforts are tax-deductible.
Family Housing Resources, Inc., greatly appreciates the charitable grants it has received from the following foresighted and generous enterprises thus far in 2014:
Bank of America Foundation, Bank of the West, BVA Compass Foundation, The Thomas & Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation, Providence Service Corporation, Sentinel Pass Foundation, State Farm Companies Foundation, Tucson Federal Credit Union, Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation.
Here are forward-thinking, successful programs that now require substantial private funding in order to continue their important work:
* THE HOMEBUYER EDUCATION & COUNSELING PROGRAM
All national studies (HUD, U.S. Census, NeighborWorks America, etc.) have proven and reproved that homeownership creates a sense of pride, self-worth, and motivation and helps to stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods. They have proven also that areas where homeownership prevails present themselves better and have more successful schools and less crime than areas where tenancy is prevalent. Because low- to moderate-income individuals are often undereducated, the home-buying process can be quite intimidating and forbidding to them. This program strives to elevate these prospective homebuyers to mortgage readiness by educating them in every aspect of home-buying and thereby imparting related financial literacy to them.
Over the past decade, this program has helped more than 10,000 families and individuals to realize the American Dream of homeownership. Currently, FHR receives more than 20 new telephone inquiries daily about it.
* THE EMERGENCY RENT RELIEF FUND
More than 90% of the residents of FHR’s eleven communities have incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). More than half have incomes at or below 60% of the AMI, and a quarter or more have incomes at or below 50% of the AMI. Low- to medium-income families and individuals are especially vulnerable to unforeseen calamities. Sudden job loss; death of a spouse or partner; serious illness, or other unforeseen medical/dental issues; vehicular expenses; loss of a roommate: these catastrophes are the reasons why, in 2014, 123 FHR residents–6% of the communities’ total households–faced eviction for non-payment of rent.
Eviction can be a traumatic, even ruinous experience: evictees suffer serious damage to their credit ratings, must find other housing quickly, and be able to pay mandatory security and cleaning deposits before taking occupancy. Such circumstances can amount to the first major step toward homelessness.
In many of these cases, eviction could have been avoided had the residents had access to one or two months of emergency rental assistance. During that time, they could have secured and begun other jobs, found new roommates, downsized to more affordable residences, or paid off unforeseen expenses. FHR’s Emergency Rent Relief Fund is designed to provide to responsible households that simply encounter unforeseen financial difficulties a level of financial support, some stability during chaotic times.
The application process: a resident in financial distress submits a written application for assistance from the Fund (accompanied, if appropriate, by supporting documentation), which is reviewed by a committee of FHR management; if the difficulties cited on the application are deemed legitimate and compelling, rent assistance from the Fund is distributed to the Resident manager of the applicant’s community. Distributions from the fund are considered grants and therefore need not be repaid.
These vital programs rely upon private support from thoughtful individuals and entities who understand the importance of decent, affordable housing to low- to moderate-income families and individuals. Every gift is crucial–and tax-deductible.