As inflation soars and the economy stalls, many Americans still face the devastating, day-to-day impacts from the pandemic — including deep rental debt and housing insecurity.
To help meet this continued need at the local level, Goodwill Central Coast is administering a $94,000 Housing Permanency grant that ends in June.
This grant, received from United Way Monterey County, targets Monterey County residents who are at or below the county’s 80 percent median income and are ineligible for the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The goal of the program is to provide immediate essential support such as food, clothing, bus passes, and more — removing existing obstacles to prevent residents from becoming homeless. Some of these obstacles include paying bills stemming from healthcare, high-interest loans, legal, DMV, utilities, security deposits, car repair, car insurance, etc. The program also offers case management to help residents navigate the system to access benefits and services. Case management may be accessing medical care, counseling, financial guidance, and much more.
“Our mission has always been to help strengthen communities, and we are proud to participate in this vital program,” said Linda Sanchez, GCC’s Prosperity Planner whose role in the program centers around outreach, communication, and one-on-one case management. “It’s a critical program that is very much in need. Personally, I wish we had more money and more time for this because so many families out there could use this type of help, and they don’t qualify for other programs.”
The program is open to any resident of Monterey County (regardless of immigration status) who is considered low-income according to the Area Median Income (AMI) of Monterey County guidelines with financial distress to remain housed. The applicant does not have to be affected by COVID directly, but at least one household resident does need to have tested positive.
The Housing Permanency program is another example of Goodwill’s work behind the scenes beyond its stores and donation sites.
As GCC’s Prosperity Planner, Sanchez’s overall goal is to help individuals become economically self-sufficient through individualized goal setting, case management, and providing access to a wide network of community services and partner programs to support the individuals’ journey in reaching their goals.
“We help our employees file their taxes, for free, partnering with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) through the United Way,” she said. “We also ensure that families know about earned income tax credit, things like that. We do a lot behind the scenes, trying to expand and help the community in different areas.”