2019 Strategic Grant
Legal-name: Fair Housing Foundation
Address: 3605 Long Beach Blvd., Suite 302
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Barbara Shull
First-name: Stella Verdeja
Title: Program Manager
Textarea-499: The Fair Housing Foundation (FHF) seeks support to grow the Rental Counseling Program thereby increasing our preventative eviction activities offered to Long Beach residents, increase the number of at-risk families for homeless we assist and strengthen our outreach efforts in the community.
Total-cost: 22,000 per year
How-many-years: 2 years
What-is-project: The Fair Housing Foundation’s (FHF) Rental Counseling Program provides support to families at-risk of becoming homeless, educates clients about financial planning, tenant rights, and provides them with resources and assists clients locate, secure, and/or maintain their place of residence. The program helps clients build and protect their assets through counseling and planning.
In 2016, according to Eviction Lab at Princeton University, a nationwide database of evictions, 1,339 eviction judgements were granted, which calculates to approximately 3.66 evictions per day in the City of Long Beach. That is approximately, 3-4 families being evicted from their homes on daily basis. The most common reoccurring problem is the excessive housing cost in relation to available income. The cost burdened renters consist of small families, families with minor children, and elderly households. They are the population most vulnerable and most likely to receive eviction notices and experience homelessness.
FHF developed the Rental Counseling Program to assist and prevent at-risk families from being evicted and becoming homeless through education and a variety of other rental housing counseling activities. Clients partake in one-on-one counseling session with a HUD Certified Housing Counselor. The Counselor helps determine a client’s rent affordability by developing a financial analysis of their total income and expenses. The Counselor provides budgeting strategies, improving credit, emergency preparedness, develops an action plan with realistic goals and a timeline to meet goals, educates clients regarding fair housing rights, and assists with landlord and tenant concerns. FHF assist clients in exploring their options and encourages employment. For example, providing single parents referrals for affordable childcare in their area, so they can join the work force. The Counselor meets with the clients as many times as needed to ensure the client is on the path to reaching their goals and financial stability.
For tenants that are involved in landlord/tenant disputes the Housing Counselor assists with mediations between landlords and tenants to avoid the eviction process. In addition, FHF can assist tenants who have been served with eviction paperwork with completing a response to the paperwork, so they have an opportunity to present their side in court. Many families are afraid and lose as a result of not responding.
As for the new Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance being established in the City of Long Beach, the Housing Counselors will assist with educating Long Beach residents and landlords, and assist with mediations involving landlords and tenants, so tenants can successfully obtain the relocation benefits.
FHF makes clients aware of their options and empowers clients with the information they need to make smart choices that secure their future.
How-will-you-succeed: FHF measures the success rate of the program, by the client’s successful completion of their short-term goals and the progress the clients are making on meeting their long-term goals, all of which are included in their action plan. In addition, FHF produces an annual report including statistical information and results of the program. Under the Rental Counseling Program FHF has been able to successfully assist 86 families in the City of Long Beach.
FHF is an affiliate and HUD certified housing counseling agency with HomeFree-USA network. FHF receives annual funding from HomeFree to provide the Rental Counseling Program to all cities contracted with FHF.
Who-are-you: Incorporated in 1964, the Fair Housing Foundation (FHF) is a non-profit organization with 55 years of experience of providing programs and services for rental counseling, fair housing, landlord/tenant counseling, and education and outreach activities in the community. FHF is contracted with 25 cities in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The foundation serves residents, rental home seekers, landlords, managers, property owners and management companies. All services provided to clients in our service area are completely free. We pride ourselves as being a neutral party where both landlords and tenants can reach out to us and obtain assistance. FHF’s mission is dedicated to eliminating discrimination in housing and promoting equal access to housing choices for everyone.
The Fair Housing Foundation’s main office has always been located in the City of Long Beach and we have an additional office in the city of Anaheim. For our 2017-2018 fiscal year alone, FHF has provided assistance to 1,380 households in the city of Long Beach regarding either rental counseling, fair housing services, and/or landlord and tenant counseling. Approximately, 76% of the households being of very low to extremely low income. FHF collaborated with approximately 25 community organizations and agencies and impacted 1,367 individuals through our Outreach and Education department’s outreach efforts in Long Beach. FHF is continuously exploring options to expand our services and resources to best serve our clients.