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June 4, 2008 > Rental Assistance Program now available to county residents

Rental Assistance Program now available to county residents

Submitted By Joyce Joyner

Thanks to funding received from the San Francisco Foundation, the Rental Assistance Program service areas are no longer limited to the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Pleasanton, and San Leandro. The RAP service areas now include the cities of Alameda, Newark, and Union City, as well as the unincorporated Alameda County areas of Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Sunol.

Additionally, beginning July 1, 2008 in partnership with the city of Dublin, the Rental Assistance Program will be available to Dublin tenants. We appreciate the city's commitment to serve residents that have fallen on difficult times.

The Rental Assistance Program is an income-based self-help based rent delinquency and security deposit assistance program. RAP does not pay the amount owed. Instead, RAP counselors negotiate with property owners to secure their voluntary agreements to accept monthly payments from the tenants, with ECHO acting as a co-signer guaranteeing all or part of any defaulted payment plan.

The total household income must be sufficient to meet ongoing rent, day to day expenses and an additional agreed upon payment to the property owner to pay off the delinquent rent or security deposit. Income and expenses must be verified through third party verifications from employers and governmental agencies.

If an applicant appears to be eligible, their landlord is contacted to see if they will work with RAP. If the property owner agrees to the proposed payment agreement, an appointment is made for the tenants to come in for an interview. At that time, the counselor will complete the budget sheets, check credit, verify income and request any other information that is needed to verify all sources of household income and expenses.

Now that the service has been expanded to include the unincorporated areas of Alameda County, ECHO looks forward to assisting more clients.

For more information, call ECHO at (510) 581-9380.

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