The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) federal eviction moratorium was recently extended to June 30, 2021, sparing millions from eviction.
When the moratorium eventually expires, the anticipated eviction crisis is expected to hit home here in Palm Beach County, putting thousands of renters on the brink of homelessness. With an eviction on their record, many will find it extremely difficult to secure an apartment in the future.
Although there are emergency rental assistance programs available through Palm Beach County and local nonprofits, the need has far exceeded these programs’ capacity to respond, leaving many unable to access assistance before an eviction is filed.
That’s why Adopt-A-Family contacted Legal Aid Staff Attorney Denita Jones, who provided useful information for families facing eviction because of unpaid rent.
If this sounds like your situation, here’s some advice Jones had to offer:
1. Respond to Your Eviction Notice
If you receive an eviction summons or complaint, you have five (5) business days to respond. It is very important that you submit a written response, also known as an “Answer”, within those five days.
2. When You File a Response, Pay Toward What You Owe If You Can
If you are able, deposit your past due rent in the court registry.
3. What to Do If You Cannot Pay Back Rent
File a Motion to Determine Rent and attach a signed copy of the CDC declaration, which shows you are protected under the CDC order. It temporarily halts residential evictions for non-payment of rent. The document will also demonstrate that you are not able to pay back the full amount owed.
4. Every Individual on the Lease Agreement Must Sign a CDC Declaration
Each adult on the lease should sign and deliver separate CDC declarations. In circumstances where individuals in a household (i.e. married people) file a joint tax return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide an executed declaration on behalf of other adult residents.
The CDC declaration must then be provided to your landlord, owner of the residential property where you live, or another person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from your residence.
5. If Your Landlord has already Begun Eviction Proceedings, Submit a Copy of the Required Paperwork to the Court in addition to providing a copy to your landlord.
After everyone on the lease agreement has signed the CDC Declaration, it should be filed with the court, along with the Answer document and Motion to Determine Rent.
6. Keep an Open Line of Communication with Your Landlord
It’s important to communicate with your landlord and make back payments whenever possible. When the eviction moratorium expires, you will still will responsible for paying back the rent owed.
7. Reach Out to Legal Aid for Advice
Legal Aid of Palm Beach County’s goal is to offer assistance to as many people as possible, even if it’s just legal advice. Legal Aid can assist individuals in applying to halt an eviction and/or provide them referrals to useful resources. For more information, contact Legal Aid at 561-655-8944 or complete the online intake form.
8. Rental Assistance is Available for Palm Beach County Residents
Residents can apply for Palm Beach County’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program here:: https://www.rentalassistancepbc.org/. Adopt-A-Family’s Housing Stabilization Program also offers emergency rental assistance. For more information, call (561) 253-1361 or visit https://www.aafpbc.org/housing-stabilization-program/.
9. Rental Assistance is Available for Undocumented, At-Risk Renters
Legal Aid of Palm Beach County has funds available for individuals whose legal status prevents them from obtaining rental assistance from Palm Beach County. For more information, contact Legal Aid at 561-655-8944.
10. You Are Not Alone
Help is available. There is legal advice and access to assistance. Organizations like Legal Aid of Palm Beach County and Adopt-A-Family are here to help.
Many thanks to Denita Jones of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County for providing this helpful information.
As part of a nationwide initiative funded by John S. and the James L. Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin counties (CFPBMC) spearheaded a discussion called “On the Table.” In October 2018, CFPBMC coordinated with local community partners who hosted in-person discussions on topics surrounding positive social change and exchanged ideas on actions that can make a difference in the community. Approximately 4,000 Palm Beach and Martin County residents participated in On the Table conversations. This initiative was a first of its kind for Palm Beach County and it allowed community residents, volunteers, and leaders to come together and examine the most pressing needs currently facing the community.
After the On the Table discussions, participants were encouraged to fill out a survey. The report on the survey is very encouraging. It shows that 77% of On the Table participants feel that Palm Beach and Martin Counties have a strong sense of community. 73% feel that nonprofits and community organizations offer the most significant impacts on making the community a better place to live. The most conclusive response revealed by the survey is that an astounding 91% of participants expressed plans to take specific action regarding one of the issues or solutions they discussed during an On the Table discussion.
You can read the full report here.
Adopt-A-Family looks forward to the positive impact of increased engagement, partnership, advocacy, grassroots organization, and multi-sector collaboration in our community that has been sparked by 2018’s On the Table. Thank you to the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties for coordinating this engaging event!
5 Tips for Fundraising with Adopt-A-Family
Looking to raise money for Adopt-A-Family but not quite sure how to get started? Consider hosting a fundraising event!
Did you know that 80% of Americans believe it’s essential for people to come together in order to promote positive change–regardless of age, gender, income, or geography?
Fundraising events can make a big impact when advocating and spreading awareness for a good cause– like Adopt-A-Family! Each day, we’re working toward our mission to strengthen families with children in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. By providing access to all-encompassing services for our families, we’re holding true to our withstanding vision of being leaders in “helping families help themselves.”
At Adopt-A-Family, we encourage our supporters to take action and give aid to our organization. With your help, we can reach our full potential! Fundraisers are a great way to get involved in our organization (and they’re fun too)! Here are a few important factors to keep in mind when planning your event!
1. Set a Goal
The foundation of hosting a successful event is understanding its overall purpose and goals. Are you seeking to bring in donations, or simply to spread awareness? If you’re after financial gain, start there. How much money do you wish to make, or even need to make in order to turn a profit? Ensure that all your objectives, no matter how easily attainable, have measurable targets. Registering your event through an online ticketing platform can allow you to track real-time sponsorships and donations! Analyzing your success is crucial to indicating changes to make in the future.
2. Create a Budget
Creating (and sticking to!) a budget can be one of the most stressful components of event planning, especially when fundraising for a nonprofit. When all is said and done, you want to be left with funds to donate to your cause! Establish a rough budget as soon as you begin event planning, and be sure to document all your costs through a spreadsheet. Even your smallest costs can add up to more than you may intend, so be sure to leave room in your budget for the unpredictable!
3. Host Your Event in Collaboration With an Upcoming Celebration
One of the most simple ways to host a fundraising event is to schedule it in tandem with a personal celebration! Requesting attendees’ “presence” instead of presents is becoming a popular trend in children’s birthday parties and holiday celebrations. Is your birthday, wedding, or anniversary right around the corner? Ask friends and family to donate to a meaningful organization (like Adopt-A-Family!) rather than giving gifts. Not only is this an effective way to fundraise, but it also reminds others to be charitable in their daily lives.
4. Choose a Unique Theme
It’s important to remember that when planning a fundraiser, your guests are excited to contribute to a good cause, but they’re more excited to have a great time! Select a fun theme that will motivate others to both attend and donate. Make sure your event is unique, exciting, and in line with your cause or organization. From trivia nights to neighborhood street parties, the options are truly endless!
If you don’t have the time to host your own event, that’s fine! At Adopt-A-Family, we’re constantly hosting special events to raise money. Be sure to check out our events calendar .
We recently caught up with Celine J., an Adopt-A-Family success story from the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center and Program REACH.
Celine, can you share a bit about what caused you to fall on difficult times?
After my partner and I separated, things began to fall apart. Going from a two-income household to just me, was life-altering and scary for me and my children.
My rent was over $1,400, I had a car payment, and all my other bills were simply too much for me to stay on my feet. I was working a pretty good job but it wasn’t enough to sustain my expenses. We ended up homeless and lost nearly everything. My car was repossessed and on top of it all, I found out I was pregnant only a month later. My pregnancy was very rough and I was put on bed-rest for the majority of it. This inevitably caused me to lose my job. Everything in my life was coming undone.
It was then I found out about Adopt-A-Family’s Lewis Center office. The team helped me right away (the same day of my appointment). My caseworker told me she wouldn’t let my precious children and I spend another night not knowing where we’d stay. The team worked fast to ensure I’d have a roof over my head. After staying several nights in a hotel, I was referred to Program REACH, an emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Everything began turning for the better.
How did participating in the program change your life?
The kids (I have 10-year old twins and a healthy 5-month old baby girl) loved it here.
In addition to my case manager helping me find a new job, we were introduced to a number of community resources: I learned budgeting skills, developed a savings plan, and worked with a housing specialist toward finding affordable housing that fell within my existing budget. In a matter of weeks, my housing specialist found a beautiful (and most importantly, affordable) home to call my own. With my newly acquired budgeting skills and savings plan, I was able purchase a reliable used vehicle without the need of a car loan. Going to and from work will now be easier than ever without the need to rely on public transportation.
What will you remember most about your time at Adopt-A-Family?
Sometimes people fall flat on their faces and just may need a second chance. I needed Adopt-A-Family to help rebuild my life. I was pushed to work hard all while being treated with compassion, kindness, respect, and a family spirit. I’ll never forget my family at Adopt-A-Family.
And, neither will my children.
*Celine’s name was changed for privacy purposes.
Our #GiveAAF17 mission statement: A stable home creates opportunities for our families. We cannot change lives without you. When you give to Adopt-A-Family for this year’s Great Give, you are creating the opportunity for our children and families to grow.
The first time Greg H. heard about Adopt-A-Family, his life was in crisis. He was served with a 3-day notice of eviction and knew of no other steps to avoid the inevitable, #homelessness.
Greg reached out to Adopt-A-Family’s Housing Stabilization Program and qualified for immediate assistance. “In one word, the program was life-saving,” he shared proudly, while hugging his daughter. “Home is my foundation, and Adopt-A-Family ensured I’d keep a roof over my head. Truthfully, I have no clue where I’d be without the support.”My life has entirely turned around after being on the brink of homelessness. Click To Tweet
Gregory, a loving single father, also highlighted Adopt-A-Family’s counseling services as being vital to behavior changes in his daughter after receiving support.
“Ms. Joan [our therapist] has turned my daughter’s behaviors into positive coping mechanisms. Her anger and frustrations in school have melted away. You wouldn’t believe how much she’s transformed. She went without smiling for such a long time. Now, she smiles freely. It’s been a blessing for us. She wants to come to therapy every day.”
We then asked Greg what his future looks like after receiving Adopt-A-Family’s helping hand.
“I find myself crying at night simply in amazement of our world turning for the better — all because of Adopt-A-Family.”My future is very, very bright. And most importantly, so is my daughter's. Click To Tweet
For part two of our four part Great Give 2017 series highlighting Adopt-A-Family programming, we caught up with Director of Homeless Services, Nydia Sabugo-Marrou. Our second feature focuses on how emergency housing solutions provide a stable foundation for families in crisis.
What are common barriers faced by families entering Program REACH and the Lewis Center?
The common barriers of the families we serve are the following: they have very limited income, limited education, parents that may have been in the foster care system, and have experienced a plethora of traumatic events in their lives. Because of the significant trauma, many families come to us with additional mental health challenges on top of their experience with homelessness.
What are some key goals for families served in your programs?
The first goal when we bring them here is to put a roof over their head. This starts with a hotel voucher or a referral to Program REACH. Our next goal is to obtain more stable and long-term housing solutions. The primary way we accomplish this is through Rapid Re-Housing. Another goal is to ensure we limit the amount of time each family spends being homeless. Once a family is housed, we provide referrals and other services offered by collaborative partners to help families grow.
Why is it so important that this work is possible in Palm Beach County? How is it making a difference?
We begin with saying that everyone deserves a safe and stable place to stay. Every child should know that when they come home from school, they have a space that is truly their own. It’s important in this community and across the world. Shelter is a BASIC human need. – Nydia Sabugo-Marrou
From the perspective of the families you serve, what would you like the community to know (that they may not know) about the work that you do?
The first thing that comes to my mind is to eradicate the stigma of homelessness. There are so many false stereotypes going around. I’d want to tell the community that so many of our community’s residents are just one paycheck away from homelessness. Anything that causes you to miss work could put you in the same predicament of so many of our families. We have families that are doing their best – some even working two part-time jobs and still having a difficult time to afford rents in this county.
It’s truly an uphill battle. However, with the supportive services provided by Adopt-A-Family and our partners, we’re able to see great successes.
What makes your job so meaningful?
The most meaningful aspect of my work is giving families a place to stay when they otherwise wouldn’t have a home. I’ll never forget one mother saying, “I can finally cook. I can make a meal for my family.” Click To Tweet Simple things like cooking that we take as an everyday luxury is simply not a reality for struggling families in our community.
Thank you for sharing this insight Nydia!
Our 2017 Great Give mission statement: Housing stability creates opportunities for our families. When you give with your heart during this year’s Great Give, our families and children will thrive. We can only impact the lives of families with you. Create the opportunity for our families and children to grow. #GiveAAF17 during the Great Give.
This blog is part two of an ongoing series that aims to give our community a closer look at the programming they will directly support during this year’s Great Give. Stay tuned for additional features on our self-sufficiency programming and educational programming. Throughout the campaign, you will also hear straight from our families on how their lives have been impacted by Adopt-A-Family. To view our Great Give fundraising page, click the logo below. To help share this feature, please click the Twitter or Facebook share icons below.