Welcome to the Housing Access for Washtenaw County’s Monthly News Update. This post contains valuable information about HAWC’s programs and updates on our impact.
CERA Program Eligibility Updates
The CERA program is a rental assistance program which is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent during COVID-19 in their homes. HAWC and SOS have worked in tandem in the last year to allocate assistance to many households in Washtenaw County. In January, the eligibility requirements changed, resulting in many applications across the county being denied. However, the eligibility changed again in March, making many of these tenants eligible once again under the new eligibility. If your application was denied and you believe you may be eligible again under the new guidance, please submit a recertification to your original application using your original CERA number on the CERA Portal. HAWC & SOS appreciate your understanding in this ever-changing landscape.
To be eligible for the CERA Program, you now must:
In addition to your application, you will also need to provide:
You may still be eligible if you cannot provide proof of income or ID
STAFF URGE YOU TO FILE YOUR CERA APPLICATION AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AS THE CERA PORTAL WILL BE CLOSING IN JUNE AND NO NEW APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR CERA ASSISTANCE. HAWC and SOS staff will only be able to process existing applications in the portal past that date until funds are entirely spent down.
To APPLY for CERA
Apply through the CERA portal. If you do not have access to a computer or are unable to complete this application online, please complete the paper application and send the required documentation, as well as the completed application to HAWC.CERA@usc.salvationarmy.org or drop off your application to the Salvation Army at 100 Arbana Dr in Ann Arbor.
Download the CERA Initial Paper Application (for new applicants - English)
Download the CERA Solicitud del Arrendatario (for new applicants - Spanish)
Download the CERAطلب المستأجر (for new applicants - Arabic)
Download the CERA Recertification Paper Application (for returning applicants)
If you are not eligible for CERA, but are still behind on your rent
HAWC may still be able to help if you meet the following eligibility requirements:
If you believe you are eligible, call HAWC’s Intake Line at (734) 961-1999.
If you are facing eviction but are not behind on rent
To check the status of a pending CERA application
HAWC CERA Updates
Our CERA Team at HAWC has been hard at work over the last year processing CERA applications. Through the end of April, HAWC alone has been able to approve 1,262 applications - 1,059 of which were initial applications. Of those applications, HAWC has been able to spend a total of $8,364,823.72 in direct assistance to those in need in our county.
Court Liaison Update
Our new Court Liaison is settling into their role and working to streamline how CERA applications which are in court are processed. They are working with staff both at HAWC and SOS to handle the steadily increasing caseload. In working with the Washtenaw County Courts, our Court Liaison is able to guide tenants through the CERA assistance process and give updates to them and the court on case review. They oversee hundreds of cases every week. The Court Liaison’s role is to provide information to tenants, landlords, attorneys and judges, and to coordinate between these partners as case review proceeds.
*If you receive a court summons, YOU MUST attend court to do your part to prevent against an eviction. If you do not attend court, you may receive a default judgement for eviction. If you are evicted, the CERA program is no longer able to assist you with rental arrearages. Make every effort possible to attend court or notify the court if you are unable to attend.*
HAWC Intake Updates
Our HAWC Intake Staff is responsible for being the initial point of contact for all those experiencing a housing crisis in Washtenaw County. Our intake staff is currently working extremely hard to manage the required capacity. Please be patient with our staff as they navigate these understaffing challenges. We are happy to announce that we are currently training 3 additional intake staff to help manage the needs of our Washtenaw County Community.
Intake Call Reports
For a better understanding of HAWC’s intake operations, please see the below statistics from the month of April (April 4 – April 29).
Please note, the percentage of calls returned does not account for those calls which were inaudible voicemails, and the call could not be returned. Additionally, some calls were determined to be duplicates, which occurs when a caller leaves more than one voicemail before their call is returned. Our intake staff will only call back these callers once for multiple calls. Our intake team is working hard to meet the needs of Washtenaw County residents.
Ways You Can Help!
Family Shelter and Diversion Updates
Family Shelter Program
Our family shelter program was able to provide shelter for families in the month of April, which were made up of groups of adults and children who were experiencing a housing crisis. One of those families were able to transition into shelter space elsewhere in the county once it became available. Five additional families are simply waiting for their new rental units to be ready to move into! One family was also able to identify temporary housing outside of shelter and were referred to our family shelter diversion program. The remaining families are working with HAWC staff in hopes of securing a safe place to call home with the help of our Hotel Coordinator.
Family Shelter Diversion Program
At this time, shelter space in Washtenaw County is full and if you are experiencing a housing crisis, HAWC may not be able to assist you immediately. This limited shelter space is filled by way of community partnership, informed by triage tools. However, in the interim, our Family Shelter Diversion Specialist works with families in Washtenaw who are experiencing a housing crisis in attempts to remedy their housing barriers before they even get into shelter! By working towards self-sufficiency prior to a shelter stay, families can utilize this as their best option.
Shelter diversion is a strategy that prevents homelessness for people seeking shelter by helping them identify immediate alternative housing arrangements, and, if necessary, connecting them with services and financial assistance to help them return to permanent housing, prior to beginning a shelter stay.
At HAWC, the family shelter diversion program has been able to assist 3 families in identifying housing who are now awaiting move in dates, 2 families who were given a warm-hand off to MRS, DHHS, and CMH, 1 family who have established a move-in date assistance with the security deposit, and 3 families whose needs changed and were ultimately referred to family shelter.
Our Housing Resource Specialists work hard to prevent homelessness using one-time monetary assistance strategies. Working in tandem with community partners, clients are referred to HAWC for rental assistance and move-in assistance. Our rental assistance program currently is working to assist clients who are at risk of homelessness but are not eligible for the CERA program. Our HRS team also works to support clients who have found new units in Washtenaw County and would not be able to move in without financial assistance to bridge a large gap. Our HRS team worked to approve nine of these assistance cases in April 2022. Our HRS team is also expanding, adding two additional staff to meet the needs of our community as the CERA program wraps up this summer.
Questions? Contact Us!
HAWC Intake Line: (734) 961-1999 | Mailing Address: 100 Arbana Dr Ann Arbor, MI 48013