Each year, an average of 40-50 families including 45 adults and 80 children leave homeless shelters in Montgomery County and secure permanent housing through the Housing Counseling Program administered by the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC).

However, before these at-risk families can move into a unit, they must pay application fees, security deposits, utility connection and utility security fees which are prohibitively high for families coming out of homelessness. 

They have little or no money for furniture and bedding. The waiting list for free furniture is several  months long and growing.  With fewer resources it has become even more difficult for these families to move into permanent housing.

The Housing Counseling Plus Program (HCPP) helps low-income families and their children meet their move-in costs as they transition out of homelessness and thereby obtain stable permanent housing. HCPP oftentimes secures the missing link, offering the most crucial assistance to be leveraged with the other services provided to homeless families. Without assistance with their move-in costs homeless families cannot move into rental housing and are likely to stay homeless.

Personal Impact

Not too long ago, everything in “Carol’s” life was fine. Carol had a good job, and she and her eight year old daughter lived in a nice apartment. However, when Carol was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy and other difficult therapies took a heavy toll on Carol’s health and living arrangements. Undergoing so many treatments, she did not have enough sick-leave from her job and she was also denied short term disability. Her income plummeted and she lost her housing. Then, Carol was referred to our HCPP program. HOC’s case worker worked closely with the County HHS offices, churches and other non-profit agencies in the county to put together a complete portfolio of assistance to help pay off her delinquent utility bill. Also, HCPP provided assistance with meeting some of Carol’s move in costs. Thanks to HOC’s and HCPP’s advocacy and assistance, Carol and her daughter were able to return once again to stable permanent housing. Now, Carol is feeling much better. She is working again full-time. And her daughter is doing well in school. HCPP helped to save Carol from homelessness and put her on the track again to self-sufficiency. Carol said that she “will never forget how valuable” the help she received from HCPP and HOC was for her and her daughter.