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The Berks County SAM Site operates and manages several tenant-based rental assistance programs.  “Tenant-Based Rental Assistance” refers to individuals and/or families residing in their own apartments, holding a lease with a private-market landlord.  Concurrently, these individuals and families are receiving rental assistance from SAM,  Inc. in  order to make their home affordable for them. 

SAM,  Inc. is not the only agency in Berks County to provide tenant-based rental assistance.  As with all  other tenant-based rental assistance programs in Berks County, there are basic eligibility requirements based upon total household income.  In addition, each specific SAM,  Inc. tenant-based rental assistance program has its own, additional eligibility requirements which are determined by the funder(s) of the specific program. 

The current tenant-based rental assistance programs operated and managed by the Berks County SAM Site are: 

Berks County MH/DD Program / HealthChoices Housing Assistance Plan

This program of tenant-based rental assistance serves individuals (and their families), aged 18 and over, with  a diagnosis of a qualifying Mental Health Disorder, Substance Use Disorder, or co-occurring Mental Health/Substance Use Disorder.  Other eligibility requirements, such as qualifying health insurance coverage, also apply.  Qualifying applicants must meet a defined “Priority Group” or “Emergency” need for housing assistance.  Further information, including announced, specific periods of Open Enrollment during which applications are accepted is available through SAM, TASC or Salisbury case management,  local ACT TEAM’s, or community Outpatient Mental Health Providers.  

PHARE 2018 Program

This program of tenant-based rental assistance serves individuals (and their families) who are receiving adult and/or child mental health case management services, services for a Substance Abuse Disorder, IDD Support Coordination Services or Early Intervention Service Coordination Services.  The household must be currently paying at least 50% of their total household income toward rent and  basic utilities, but not currently under a court-ordered eviction for non-payment of rent.  Further information, including announced, specific periods of Open Enrollment during which applications are accepted is available through SAM, TASC or Salisbury case management,  local ACT TEAM’s, or community Outpatient Mental Health Providers.  

PHARE 2019 Program

This program of tenant-based rental assistance serves individuals, case managed through SAM Forensic Case Management, with a primary mental health diagnosis and involvement with the criminal justice system, who have completed a program of transitional housing through the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program.  Additionally, any individual who has involvement with the criminal justice (forensic) system and has been specifically referred by the Berks County Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Program will be eligible for participation in this program.  Further information, including the procedure for applications is available through the SAM, Inc. Forensic Case Management Unit.   

Shelter + Care  Program

This program of tenant-based rental assistance is operated by SAM, Inc. in coordination with the Reading Housing Authority.  Individuals with a Priority Population Mental Health diagnosis and/or a Substance Use Disorder diagnosis, who meet the HUD definition of Homelessness or Chronic Homelessness are eligible to apply for this program.  All individuals served in this program must be open and actively engaged with case management services either through SAM, TASC, Salisbury or the Reading Hospital ACT Team.  Individuals accepted into the Shelter + Care Program receive a Housing Choice Voucher (“Section 8”) through the Reading Housing Authority.  Further information, application packets and updated information regarding potential Waiting List status of the program are available through the SAM, Inc Housing Department.