Housing Scholarship Program Offers Rental Aid for Working Students

Affordable housing is a critical need for everyone, but perhaps for none more than those beginning their careers while trying to receive additional training and education and working at the same time.

That's where the Tri-Valley Housing Scholarship Program (HSP) comes in. The HSP offers rental assistance for heads of households living or working in the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton if they meet certain income requirements and are enrolled and in good standing in an academic or vocational program that will be completed within 21 months. Work support programs such as child care are also offered.

"The City of Pleasanton has supported this program for several years and we show a 90 percent success rate in increasing the economic and social viability of participating households," says Marie Lee, executive director of Allied Housing, the non-profit which administers the program. "Now, we're actively searching for employers who think this program might address the desires of some of their employees to advance in the workplace."

The HSP offers monetary assistance with housing but it goes much further. The program also provides career assessment testing and counseling, budget planning, information on affordable housing opportunities, job search preparation, customized goal planning, and more.

"It's a great program for employers who treat their employee population with enlightened self-interest and grows and nurtures talent from within," adds Lee. "We are looking for employers who will work with us in making the HSP as relevant and useful as needed and intended."

Applying to be admitted to the program is a simple process.

"We welcome direct contact and referrals from anyone who thinks they may qualify for a Housing Scholarship," says Lee. "Referrals of potential applicants are accepted from colleges, training and apprenticeship programs, employers, and community-based organizations."

HSP applicants are pre-screened for basic eligibility by Allied Housing. There are several steps to the pre-screening process. HSP staff meet with each individual applicant to discuss the program, then review the applicant's career and education goals, income, credit history, need for housing, and the student's plan for financial independence once the scholarship program is completed.

Program staff then present potential applicants to an advisory board consisting of a number of local organizations including ECHO Housing; the City of Pleasanton Housing Commission; Eden Information & Referral; the Livermore Housing Authority; Las Positas Community College; the Tri-Valley Haven; Consumer Resources for Independent Living; Housing Scholarship alumni; and the Tri-Valley One-Stop Career Center.

Please contact Marie Lee of Allied Housing at (510) 881-7310, extension 313, for more information or a meeting. Information is also available online at www.alliedhousing.org /tvhsp.html .

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