Housing crisis, rising rents fuel need for assistance programs

Housing crisis, rising rents fuel need for assistance programs

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Potential homebuyers in Nevada and nationwide are feeling the pinch with rising home costs since 2022.

Several federal, state and local resource groups gathered at the Desert Breeze Community Center Friday morning to highlight the new and existing programs to help. The resources ranged from financial and housing to food security and utility bill assistance.

The housing forum was organized largely by Congresswoman Susie Lee, who began the address by saying the state is in a housing crisis and it is all hands on deck to help.

“We have an 84,000-unit deficit that literally means we have to build more,” Lee said. 

One group building more is Nevada HAND, a nonprofit, affordable housing developer. 

Marissa Shoop of Nevada HAND. (KLAS)

Marissa Shoop, the director of resident services, highlighted an upcoming senior housing project, and others.

“Nevada HAND is proud to have about 2,000 units in the pipeline to serve Southern Nevada,” Shoop said. “But we know it is a drop in the bucket of the need Southern Nevada has.”

The National Low-income Housing Coalition confirms a rental shortage across Nevada. Many households spend more than half their income on housing.

Clark County’s most-used social service programs include the Fixed Income CHAP for rental and utility help.

Several federal, state, and local agencies gathered Friday morning to discuss the housing crisis and solutions offered for Southern Nevadans. (Lauren Negrete/KLAS)

Senior Family Service Specialist Alyssa Antos explained the program is catered to households that are on a fixed income, have a rent increase and are having a hard time making rent, and are facing eviction.

Their Eviction Prevention program is also frequently used, which can help pay past due and future rent for up to a year.

As for why these are needed, Antos points to trends like post-pandemic hardships and rising rents.

“Especially since COVID, rent has increased, and people can’t keep up with the demand,” Antos said. 

Seniors can take advantage of United Way of Southern Nevada’s Project REACH which will pay one utility bill once a year up to $300.

The Nevada homeowner assistance fund has loan and unemployment mortgage assistance programs that can help families up to $65,000.

And The Just One Project hit the podium to speak on their wide offering. Programs include food, housing and youth services. 

These and other agencies are stepping up to answer the call.

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