Housing authority offering emergency assistance program

The Mohave County Housing Authority on June 1 added a program for emergency assistance to keep people in dwellings before they join the ranks of the homeless.

The monthly allocation of $2,000 for each of the three major urban areas of the county will be used as last-resort aid for people who have not been able to get help from other agencies, said Dave Wolf, director of Mohave County community service programs.

Wolf reviewed county services for the homeless for the Cornerstone Mission monthly meeting and said the group could be eligible for federal Community Development Block Grant funds when it is ready to build a homeless shelter in Kingman.

The county administers several programs designed to assist people to move from need to self-sufficiency.

The Tenant Based Rental Assistance program helps about 200 families with rent, moving them into a self-paying situation.

The Family Self Sufficiency program places 50 of those 200 families on a five-year program to develop job skills and money management to afford a house, Wolf said.

About 15 families with severely mentally ill members are helped in Mohave County each year.

The help is limited to two years, so a transition is needed.

Special needs programs for workfare and victims of domestic violence are included in the housing authority, Wolf said.

Housing specialist Lynne Steiger said help is given to people in need even when funds are depleted.

"We work on a case management system and look for answers to problems," she said.

Recently, a woman who moved to Kingman for a job that did not materialize traded work for rent until she could make other arrangements.

Steiger said she calls until she finds a solution for most needs.

By getting the referrals, she can keep a count of needs and know how much more funding is needed.

Wolf said statistics on the number of homeless and the extent of the need are not available.

"Most of the data is from individual cases," he said.

"It is very difficult to get an accurate count of homeless and their needs."

Cornerstone Mission is a faith-based group in Kingman working toward building a local shelter for the homeless.

Representatives of local social agencies, the city, county agencies, some local churches and people interested in finding a solution meet at noon on the second Wednesday of each month at the Kingman Police Department on Andy Devine Avenue to coordinate efforts.