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Spreading the message of God's mercy and love to those in need through prayer, word and deed.
The Emergency Rent and Mercy Assistance Program, also known as ERMA provides a "safety net" to extremely low, very low and low income families in need of short term, temporary assistance to keep them from slipping into the abyss of homelessness. This is a pro-active program that is dedicated to the prevention of homelessness in our community. The Jesse Tree of Idaho, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, administers this program in our office located in Boise, Idaho.
The following is a flow chart of client services:
1. The potential Beneficiary is screened according to established criteria (*See below)
2. The potential Beneficiary fills out an application that verifies place of residence and income.
3. The Landlord/property owner is contacted to verify information and to ensure and open line of communication and an ongoing positive relationship between the Landlord and Tenant.
4. The Beneficiary participates in a case management plan with a qualified Licensed Social Worker. This enables the Social Worker to better understand the beneficiary and needs of the households. Referrals are given to agencies to help meet the basic needs of the households and to connect families to long term support that may help ensure future household stability.
5. A housing inspection is completed to ensure household members are living in a safe environment
6. The emergency rental assistance payment is mailed directly to Landlord/property owner.
7. At three, six and twelve months after services have concluded; a follow-up call is made to the Beneficiary to verify they are still housed and continuing to work toward financial stability.
The established criteria for assistance are as follows:
*Meet geographic requirements, (live in Ada County, in Boise, Kuna, Meridian, Eagle or Star)
*Meet extremely low, very low or low income guidelines established by HUD
*Have had a short term set back causing the household to be at risk of homelessness
*Lived in residence at least 3 months and have demonstrated a history of rental stability
*Have verifiable income
*Have a 3 day pay/quit or eviction notice
Once the Beneficiary has been screened, completes an application and qualifies
*Must participate in case management plan
*Landlord participation in the program
*Housing must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards
When the Beneficiary meets one on one with The Jesse Tree of Idaho's Licensed Social Worker, they discuss current support in place and provide additional support and counseling as needed. The Licensed Social Worker addresses issues surrounding the reason for the current housing crisis. They assist in identifying and addressing barriers in housing and the financial stability of the household.
Additional back-up and community support is explored to increase future stability and self-sufficiency, thus decreasing the probability of future episodes of being at risk of homelessness.
The Staff, Volunteers, Board Members and friends of The Jesse Tree of Idaho work together and sponsors diaper drives, laundry items and clothing, heads an area Shop with a Cop that provides children with much needed school supplies and clothes, purchases food to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need, participates in Toys for Tots, and partners with area businesses and supporters to adopt numerous families during Christmas.
The Jesse Tree of Idaho Staff and Volunteers partner with numerous area community organizations to meet the various needs of Beneficiaries served with prevention services and to meet the needs of the households that help with regaining financial stability.
These referrals are meant to complement the services we are providing to assist families back into self-sufficiency. Additionally, if a person is screened for rental assistance and they do not meet criteria for The Jesse Tree of Idaho funding they are still provided with other community referrals.