What are we doing to help?
United Way Suncoast has moved forward this month with plans to devote $3 million towards addressing the crisis. The eviction defense plan will focus on addressing six main areas across all five counties:
- creating cohorts of nonprofit agencies
- regional planning and information sharing to increase access
- providing legal support to tenants facing eviction
- direct client assistance distributed through partner agencies
- building awareness about the issue
- continuing our advocacy efforts.
Here are some answers to common questions:
FOR THE RENTER:
If I’ve fallen behind on my rent, what should I do?
Don’t wait until you receive an eviction notice. It’s more difficult to mitigate the situation once you’re served with an eviction notice. Look at your local county’s web site and determine if you’re eligible for emergency rental assistance. Here are the links to the county pages:
What if my landlord has served me an eviction notice?
If you have been served an eviction notice or you’re in immediate need of housing support please contact your local legal aide to determine available options. Bay Area Legal (Hillsborough and Pinellas), Gulfcoast Legal (Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota), Community Law (Pinellas).
FOR THE DONOR:
Is UWS seeking donations from private individuals for this initiative?
This initiative falls under our mission focus of financial stability and so we are always accepting donations from individuals who can choose to designate their gift to financial stability, knowing that this, and other programs will have the funding needed to help our community during this challenging time.
If so and if I were to make a donation, could it be restricted to supporting Sarasota County or perhaps more broadly, the geographic area of your focus?
Of course, gifts could be designated to Sarasota and the work we are doing with Gulf Coast Legal and other financial stability programs. Or you can donate without geographic restrictions as the work we are doing is consistent across our five counties.
▶ DONATE. You can indicate your designation in the message field provided.
FOR THE VOLUNTEER
Will you train volunteers to serve as rental navigators?
Yes. You can partner with UWS to address the eviction crisis in our community by volunteering your time. Volunteers will receive navigation training from UWS designed to support families and individuals applying for rental assistance. Duties include sharing knowledge, removing barriers and assisting in the technical steps required to accurately apply and receive rental assistance. Volunteer shifts will be flexible to each volunteer’s availability and can be done virtually.
▶ VOLUNTEER. United Way Suncoast will reach out to you to schedule an orientation and training when the program is fully operational in 2022.
Bay Area Legal is still recruiting pro bono lawyers to assist with eviction mediation. Contact Tom DiFiore.
UNITED WE RISE, UNITED WE WIN.
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