HIF Champion Spotlight
Over 50 years of building community
Alta Housing is a community-based nonprofit organization that builds and manages affordable housing in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. In addition to providing safe, well-maintained housing they provide their residents with supportive services to help them thrive. These services include after-school enrichment programs, summer youth programs, food and nutrition classes, job coaching, financial planning, arts programs, and food assistance.
“Alta Housing is all about strong communities helping one another to thrive. We share a mission and are grateful for our strong partnerships with their entire team,” said Steve Sullivan, Executive Director, Housing Industry Foundation. “They have a strong track record of empowering people we meet every day who live and work in our communities to reach their goals. It’s truly an honor to work together to lend support to our neighbors.”
Helping clients weather stressful surprises
The majority of Alta Housing resident households earn between $30,000 to $85,000 per year and frequently do not have the benefit of a financial cushion to help them weather life’s unexpected and stressful surprises.
This past year, we helped 16 Alta Housing families get through a difficult financial period. By providing Emergency Housing Fund grants of between $1,500 and $2,500, HIF provided these residents with a quick lifeline until they are able to get back on their feet.
Each resident’s experience and story is unique and this is just a snapshot of the types of hardships some of the clients faced:
- Recently lost their job and had to pay their medical bills out-of-pocket which made it difficult to find funds for rent.
- Worked full-time in healthcare and after a 5-year waitlist, finally secured affordable housing, but did not have enough to cover the security deposit.
- During the pandemic was a single parent of two, whose employment was not conducive to working from home while their children were in school remotely. Working to get back on their feet and needs help paying back rent.
- After a death in the family, they fell behind in two months’ rent and car payments covering funeral expenses while on disability.
- Went through a divorce and the ex-spouse did not provide child support for six months which required using their savings to hire a lawyer. Works full-time in a job without sick leave and had to quarantine with children. The combination put staying on top of rent at risk.
A collaboration rooted in quick turnarounds
Alta Housing residents apply for financial assistance to help them pay a security deposit or cover back rent so they can maintain stable housing. The Alta Housing and HIF case managers work closely together to make decisions in a matter of a few days so the funds are quickly received to immediately lessen the client’s financial and emotional stress.
Many other housing assistance programs take too long to get the funds into the community and in time to avert a crisis. Far too often, when someone is approved for other emergency funds, they experience long delays getting the money to pay their landlord which only prolongs their housing insecurity.
“We are grateful for HIF’s partnership and timely support. Their programs help our residents stay housed and reduce the stress when life throws them a curve ball—be it Covid, the loss of a job, or an unexpected medical issue,” said Sheryl Klein, COO, Alta Housing.