2/23/2016 06:44:03 am
As an outreach worker, I usually work with participants when they are getting connected to a program or looking for housing options. So, my worst experiences have been dealing with landlords who are unresponsive after they take people's money to do a background check or aren't willing to be flexible on criminal background/eviction history. I worked with one property manager that wouldn't accept my participant in their building because they had an eviction (due to nonpayment of rent after he lost his job). The participant had no income and their rent would have been paid for by the agency/housing program he was working with. Even though we told the landlord that the agency was responsible for paying the full amount of rent, they were still unwilling to rent to him. The main thing I learned from this experience was to be persistent and not get deterred by people who don't accommodate and work with our participants. The participant was hurt and frustrated by their denial. But, I was able to honestly tell him that I was frustrated by their decision as well and that we would continue to work with him to find a place. He kept working with us and we eventually got the client housed in a different building.
On the flip side, one of my best experiences was working with a landlord to house one of my most challenging clients. He had a lot of trust issues. But, the landlord was patient, flexible, and understanding throughout the entire process. On the day he finally moved in, she called me and left a voicemail to say that he had moved in and she sounded even more excited than the participant! Working with her was great because she understood that there is more to housing someone than just collecting their rent. She saw herself as providing a service to the community. When I asked her about being flexible, she talked about how her building works with many people who are elderly or disabled and said, "I think to myself, if I put this person out or don't let them in, where will they go?" In my opinion, there could never be enough landlords like her in the world. What I learned from working with her is that there are landlords who get it--they want to help our participants and they appreciate the work we do.
2/23/2016 06:44:26 am
I have had multiple experiences working with landlords. Our agency now has "housing specialists" who deal with the landlords for housing search and placement as well as a liaison for the client to help with other issues. I have had many landlords flat out refuse to work with our program even when they know rent is paid by the agency. In these cases, I tend to say thank you and move on without hesitation because I know if they feel that way from the beginning the client can end up experiencing some form of harassment or discrimination.
I have also walked into situations where the staff at the apartment complex was laughing, joking and gossiping at my clients expense. I talked with the manager regarding professionalism and shared we would not continue to refer clients there if this continued to happen.
I have also found complexes with extreme compassion, willing to work with some of our clients with extreme mental illness. They call and touch base when they don't think things are going well and they are great communicators when they are witnessing irrational behavior. I learned that although I cannot share certain things due to HIPPA these types of landlords are the landlords that we would like to seek out to help explain our program in general and this will help explain behaviors that may come up.
2/23/2016 06:44:41 am
The clients that we serve live in the facility that we work in as well at the shelter. Although they did not have housing at the time, they are working towards obtaining their own housing. One of the barriers for our clients is that some of them have criminal offenses. The clients face a lot of barriers but finding housing is the major barrier. The main offense that greatly affects our clients are the sexual offenses. There was a client that had been in the shelter for 2 1/2 years and in those year he had been turned down over 200 times from landlords and/or property managers. After a while he was finally accepted by an apartment complex, but then was turned down by the same landlord. Because of his good behavior, positive changes, and desire to live a better life; the Division Director was able to advocate on his behalf and change the landlord mind and heart.
10/3/2016 05:19:53 pm
I have a client who had to spend some time in the behavioral health unit after breaking a glass security door on the property. The client experienced a traumatic episode at work that sparked her pre-existing mental health condition. The landlord has been wonderful about giving time and consideration to the client as they power through this rough patch. As the Case Manager the landlord has confided he is concerned for the client but very willing to work with them at the same time. He has given the client multiple chances when other property managers would have given her notice months ago.
10/6/2016 09:03:29 am
Hey HousingFirst8! That's great to hear about how supportive that landlord is of your client! I think we've had run-ins with bad landlords who are extremely strict or skeptical about working with people who have subsidies. But, it's a good reminder for people to know that we can find landlords in the community who understand how challenging it can be for a participant to maintain housing and see themselves as partners in helping them stay housed.
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Money Management And Budgeting
Working With Landlords