City of Tempe, non-profits combine resources to relieve crisis

Jennifer Adams of Tempe City Council

Commentary by Jennifer Adams

As a Tempe resident, I have always been proud that a hallmark of our city is that we care about each other. And, in these crazy times especially, it has never been more important to help our neighbors.

So I want to make sure that those in need are aware of emergency funds available through the City of Tempe and our nonprofit partners to help pay rent, mortgages and utility bills.

One of our vital nonprofit partners, Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA), is offering more than $3 million in emergency rent, mortgage and utility assistance to households in Tempe and Fountain Hills.

TCAA expects to help about 1,600 qualifying households with up to $4,500 in rent or mortgage assistance.

Funds are limited, so applications are prioritized for households with the greatest need.

TCAA is accepting applications all month long – not just during the first week of the month as is typical – and those who have previously received assistance are encouraged to apply again. You can find all the details at www.tempeaction.org or call the hotline at 480-389-1375.

In addition, residents can apply for emergency rent assistance through the Arizona Department of Housing at housing.az.gov and Maricopa County at maricopa.gov/COVIDRentHelp.

Tempe landlords can get relief too. The state has a new Foreclosure Prevention Program that makes $5 million available to individuals who rely on income from tenants.

Find more details about the program at azgovernor.gov/newsroom (look for the July 16 press release about eviction protections).

Our own City of Tempe Human Services Department also is working to meet housing and social services needs in our community.

Of course, we do this work all year long, but during these unprecedented times, providing the highest level of assistance is vital – whether finding emergency shelter for a family in crisis, operating a cooling center to provide heat relief, or connecting a veteran with counseling.

Recently, the Tempe City Council approved allocating $760,000 for emergency rent and mortgage assistance through various funding sources:

  • Housing Services offered $460,000 in emergency rent assistance to income-eligible Tempe residents.

These funds are now helping to support a minimum of 50 households.

  • This month, Housing Services expects to open up $300,000 for emergency mortgage assistance.

When available, details on how to apply can be found at tempe.gov/housing.

In addition, the city is making as much as $500,000 in grants available to nonprofit organizations serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The city is currently processing those applications.

You can find more details about ways to get help – and give help if you are able – through our city website at tempe.gov/coronavirus and Tempe Community Council at tempecommunitycouncil.org.

Governor Doug Ducey’s arizonatogether.org also has a comprehensive listing of assistance.

TCAA is one of those community organizations that is truly worth any support you can offer.

Check out the new video on my Facebook page, Jennifer Adams Tempe, with TCAA Executive Director Deborah Arteaga.

She and I are showcasing the new Oasis Drop-In Center at TCAA, which provides respite and resources for unsheltered residents, including access to computers and a washer and dryer. It has been made possible through generous support from individual and corporate givers.

As always, you can contact me by phone at 480-350-8835 or via email at jennifer_adams@tempe.gov.

Jennifer Adams is a member of the Tempe City Council.

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