RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County announced on Wednesday morning that they have created a “strategic plan to help minimize the effects of COVID-19” on a specific group of residents.
House Wake! will address the needs of “residents who are currently homeless or on the brink of homelessness,” according to a release.
“If you were homeless you had nowhere to shelter in place, if you were precariously housed and not stable with a lease in your name or mortgage you may have lost that temporary placement”, said Lorena McDowell, director of Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization for Wake County.
It’s a six-to-eight month plan and was passed unanimously at Monday’s Wake County Board of Commissioners meeting. The plan is being implemented by the Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization Department.
“This plan will provide critical support to residents who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and can no longer afford to pay rent or their mortgage,” said Board Chairman Greg Ford in the news release. “I want to thank Commissioner Jessica Holmes for her leadership on this effort to keep our vulnerable residents housed and healthy.”
House Wake! has two main areas that will be focused on in the near-term:
- Stabilizing the housing situations of as many people teetering on the edge of homelessness as possible
- Housing individuals and families who are currently unsheltered and at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19
The county “will use policy tools and funding sources recently made available to help fight the spread of COVID-19…[the] plan will utilize federal, state, and local funding to move the maximum number of people possible into stable housing situations before the end of the calendar year,” according to the release.
“It’s impossible to abide by a stay-at-home order if you don’t have a home,” said Commissioner Jessica Holmes. “This plan enables us to do what’s right for the public health and our local economy at the same time.”
The state has received more than one million unemployment claims since March 15 and high unemployment can eventually lead to a high number of foreclosures and evictions. One of the main goals of the program is to address the coming need.
“There is an opportunity in this catastrophe,” said McDowell. “By being smart, bold, and brave, we can address the gaps that already existed in our system and help those who have been impacted by COVID-19’s strain on our community.”
- According to the news release, House Wake! consists of seven major components:
- Healthy Hotels Initiative
- Homelessness Prevention Expansion
- Rapid Rehousing Permanent Placement Program
- Housing Navigation and Landlord Engagement Program
- Oak City Cares Hygiene Program
- Housing Services Enhancement Program
- Shelter and Street Outreach Enhancement Program
The county said that they engaged in “many individual and group conversations” with members of the community and took in more than 750 public comments in support of House Wake!
More information on House Wake! can be found here.
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