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July 15, 2009 > ECHO can help

ECHO can help

Submitted By Joyce Joyner

If you are a resident of Fremont, help might be available to assist with delinquent rent or move-in costs. ECHO Housing's Rental Assistance Program, (RAP) is a self-help based delinquent rent and security deposit guarantee program. The RAP program is designed to assist people who have fallen behind on rent because of a temporary setback or people who qualify for a rental unit but need help paying the security deposit.

The RAP Program does not pay the amount owned. Instead, the Rental Assistance Program Counselor negotiates with landlords and secures their agreement to allow tenants to pay off delinquent rents or security deposits in feasible monthly installment payments. ECHO then acts as a third party co-signer and issues Guarantee Certificates to participating landlords to cover all or part of any defaulted payment plans.

Applicants must go through a prescreening process to verify income and ongoing monthly expenses. The reason(s) for needing assistance must also be verified. All applicants must show the ability to meet ongoing rent, living expenses and monthly installment payments to the landlords to pay off delinquent rents or security deposits.

The RAP Program benefits tenants by enabling them to obtain or secure rental units. Landlords benefits by retaining tenants rather than going through the expense of a new tenant search. Landlord participation is on a voluntary case-by-case basis. Housing Assistance Grants are sometimes available to qualified applicants when funds are available.

If you are a Fremont resident in need of help with delinquent rent or are approved for a unit located in Fremont but need help paying the deposit, call ECHO at (510) 581-9380. The RAP program is also available to residents of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton. Dublin residents call (888) 887-ECHO. Livermore and Pleasanton residents call (925) 449-7340.

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