Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) has received a $18,500 grant that will go directly towards preventing homelessness for tens of people in the area.
Wells Fargo recently provided ABCCM with the grant in the ministry’s ongoing effort to Stop Evictions Now. The grant could impact the lives of 60-80 individuals in 15-24 households.
“ABCCM is so thankful to have the help of Wells Fargo to keep families in their homes,” said Rev. Scott Rogers, ABCCM’s executive director. “Their funding will stop evictions for families who are living one income instead of two, helping those where medical bills overwhelmed them, and for those who got behind after lengthy layoffs.”
In ABCCM’s service area, 94,027 people are at or below the 200% federal poverty level. That’s 36.5% of the population in the ministry’s service area. ABCCM assists all families and individuals who request rental assistance from households earning 200% or less of the federal poverty level.
ABCCM negotiates directly with the landlord in bringing the renter into good standing with their rent so that they are not facing eviction or homelessness.
In 2020, ABCCM provided rent assistance for 266 non-veteran and 186 veteran households, averaging $504.67 per household.
ABCCM has seen a 41% increase in requests for rental assistance in Buncombe County this year due to the continued economic pandemic lockdowns compared to assistance requests in 2020.
With the federal eviction moratorium being lifted on June 30, 2021, ABCCM said it projects it will provide rental assistance to 637 households who are facing eviction and homelessness in 2021.
This projection is based on data from the last economic downturn -– the Great Recession of 2007-2009. During this period, ABCCM had a 52% increase in the number of requests for rental assistance. Requests stayed elevated after the recession ended officially and did not return to pre-recession levels until 2015.
ABCCM said the “working poor,” classified as the 25th percentile of the socioeconomic levels, is affected most quickly by economic disruptions and the slowest to benefit from economic improvement. The effect is revealed in the unemployment rate in Buncombe County which is 5.2% overall but over 12% for the 25th percentile and even higher for females within this group.
ABCCM’s Stop Evictions Now program continues the ministry’s ongoing work to keep families in their homes and off the streets.