Emergency Resources Program
Our Emergency Resources Program (ERP) serves a diverse group of people. Our clients range from people experiencing homelessness, to individuals and families on fixed disability incomes, to those seeking employment and having trouble making ends meet.
Clients fall into two categories:
- Path Forward clients are those who need immediate crisis mediation and guidance toward self sufficiency.
- Maintain/Sustain clients are those who will most likely need ongoing assistance.
The goal is for Path Forward clients to become self-sufficient and not need ERP long-term. All available tools to become self sufficient should be utilized – including , but not limited to –
- resources and referral lists of other agencies that offer assistance
- programs that that teach employment skills and assist in job search
- educational advancement programs ie: GED and other certificate programs
- government benefits ( SNAP, Medicaid, VA, SSI, SSDI, TANF, etc ) as per client eligibility
- substance abuse treatment as warranted
To qualify as a Maintain/Sustain client, the individual must meet one of the following descriptions:
- Be under age 18 or retirement age
- Have diagnosed disabilities (mental, developmental and/or physical)
- Be a full time student
- Be a full time caregiver to disabled children or adults
- Be currently enrolled in a substance abuse program
All first time clients should bring a photo ID for their head of household, as well as identification for any other persons staying at the same residence. (Appropriate ID for other household members may include social security cards, school ID, shot records, birth certificate, etc.) We also ask that the client provide a current lease, rental agreement, or mortgage documentation of the place where they are residing within Leon county.
Once an incoming client is seen by a counselor, they will be provided with a list of relevant documents that will complete their file. These documents will be required for future services, if a client needs to return for additional assistance.
Please be aware that we do not provide any type of financial assistance. For a list of agencies that do, please call 211 Big Bend by dialing 211 for a directory of service providers in the Big Bend Area.
Furniture Bank of Tallahassee
The Furniture Bank of Tallahassee is the only free furniture program in our area. We are currently able to provide assistance to referred individuals/families that fit one of the following criteria:
- Families/Individuals recovering from flood or fire
- Formerly homeless clients moving into from transitional housing into their own home
- Families fostering or adopting through Florida Department of Children & Families who do not have required furniture
- Elderly/Disabled client requiring furniture for medical need or movement into long-term or assisted living housing
To receive assistance through our furniture program, a client needs to bring the following documents into the ECHO offices. These documents will NOT be accepted by fax and ALL documents must be provided before a client will be placed on the furniture list:
- A written referral from a partner agency or church who can verify that the client meets one of the above criteria and is in need of furniture
- A valid lease proving residency in Leon County and a utility bill for that same address
- Identification for ALL members of the household, including picture ID for head of household
On the day of the furniture appointment, clients are required to arrange their own transportation to transport furniture from ECHO’s warehouse to the client’s home.
Family Services Program
- The individual/family must be homeless.
(*Homeless meaning residing in temporary shelter, transitional housing facility or totally without shelter-which means lacking a fixed, regular nighttime residence, and residing in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings, such as parks, woods, sidewalks, under bridges, and abandoned buildings).
- Family must have at least one minor child in their custody.
- Individual or family must have employment , SSI/SSDI, or a substantial amount of child support funds– to pay the required program fees as well as have additional funds for savings.
- Substance abuse free– must agree to testing before program entry and submit to random testing during program stay.
- Limited criminal history– considered on a case by case basis. Areas of concern: aggressive/violent charges, charges against children, drug related charges, multiple theft related charges.
Rapid Rehousing Program
Rapid Rehousing is for ECHO client’s that have steady income but are living with homelessness
To qualify for Rapid Rehousing the client must:
- Meet the definition of homeless (*see above)
- Have a steady income of at least $950.00 a month
A housing specialist will meet with the client to pre-screen for eligibility for the program. You may also call at 850-224-3246 ext 211 to discuss eligibility.
Once eligibility has been established the housing specialist and client will fill out the necessary paperwork. A budget form will assist in determining the approved amount for rent. Rent AND utilities cannot exceed 45% of the client’s income.
Once the amount available for rent has been determined and paperwork has been signed, the client can begin to look for housing. ECHO’s housing specialist will provide an Affordable Housing List as well as offer assistance for housing options.
When the client finds housing with the approved rent and the landlord has approved them, the landlord will fill out a Move In Cost agreement. This document will provide ECHO with the amount needed for the client to move in.
The ECHO Housing Specialist will perform a Habitability Inspection per HUD standards. When/if the apartment passes the inspection the year lease can be signed, the move in costs paid and the client can move into their new home.
ECHO is able to assist a limited number of individuals each year with the Rapid Rehousing Grant through the City of Tallahassee.