The Supportive Housing Program (SHP) is designed to assist Lycoming County residents in danger of eviction or mortgage foreclosure and those needing to secure housing accommodations. Using a two-tiered process, the goal of SHP is to reach 50 income-qualified customers. The program is administered by the designated Lead Agency: Lycoming-Clinton Counties Commission for Community Action (STEP), Inc. Program oversight is provided by Lycoming County’s Planning & Community Development Department and Fiscal Services Department. Additional advice to the County will be provided by an SHP Advisory Committee to be appointed by the Lycoming County Commissioners.
An SHP customer must be a resident of Lycoming County for a minimum of at least one year (12 months). The residency requirement is not limited to the immediate past 12 months but the customer must be able to demonstrate that Lycoming County has been their residence for at least 12 months over the past few years. SHP customers must also meet household income thresholds. While SHP places a priority on households earning 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or less ($30,250), the program is able to assist families with incomes up to 200% AMI.
STEP will partner with a limited number of community Referral Partner agencies and the selected SHP customers. SHP will concentrate on Lycoming County’s rental community with the goal of helping customers avoid eviction from their rental dwellings and assist homeless residents who are sheltered or unsheltered to obtain safe, affordable rental accommodations. SHP will also be structured to assist a limited number of homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure. To extend the reach of SHP funding, Service Navigation will use other eligible STEP funding streams—federal, state, and local—to meet customers’ needs, as well as leveraging other community resources, before allocating SHP resources.
Referral Partners are crucial to the success of SHP. All Lycoming County community organizations are encouraged to apply to become an SHP Referral Partner. STEP seeks those agencies who have demonstrated past success with county residents who have faced complex and multi-tiered social and economic challenges and are in need of rental assistance or pre-foreclosure mortgage assistance.
SHP has two tiers:
- Tier One individuals and families are in crisis or the beginning stages of achieving self-sufficiency. They have complex and multifaceted needs requiring long-term assistance. Customers in Tier 1 will receive STEP’s Service Navigation assistance to build a long-range multi-pronged plan leading to immediate stabilization, building of foundational skills, and then achieving long-term self-sufficiency.
- Tier Two includes customers who have made some progress towards self-sufficiency and are deemed by STEP’s Referral Partner agencies as ready to take “the next step” on the pathway to self-sufficiency. In addition to the financial assistance (security deposit, utility, and rental or mortgage assistance), needed to stabilize their housing situation, Tier Two customers will receive extensive long-term service navigation support necessary to identify and address issues that impede customers from achieving financial self-sufficiency, thus impeding housing stability over the long run.
Amber and Vince came to the Supportive Housing Program (SHP) highly recommended by the American Rescue Workers. Upon referral, they were homeless, married but forced to stay in separate shelters. Amber’s housing situation was preventing her from having custody of her three children. Vince was employed through a temp service and Amber was seeking employment. Vince was also on probation, and both are in recovery.
Amber and Vince were enrolled in the Tier I Pilot program, receiving case management and graduated financial assistance. With their backgrounds, finding housing was still difficult, but with SHP support they were able to find a landlord willing to work with them. With housing stabilized, Amber was able to have 50% custody of her children, keeping them every other week. Vince is off probation, still employed, and the family was able to obtain a car for reliable transportation. The family is adjusting well and excited about what the future holds.