A Bridge to Home: Why Waypoint Needs Local Landlords More than Ever

April 08, 2016 at 11:22 AM

bridges-magnificent-walkway-hdr-bridge-forest-sunrise-bench-vysotnaya-progulochnaya-dorozhka-botanicheskom-sadu-free-desktop-wallpaper.jpgEveryone deserves a safe and affordable place to live. Some people make mistakes, but everyone deserves a second chance. By helping house Waypoint’s clients, landlords play an integral role not only in helping individuals take charge of their lives, but also in making the community a better place to live.

Relationships with local landlords are crucial in Waypoint’s Rapid Re-Housing Program, which supports homeless households with a quick transition back into permanent housing. Last fiscal year, Rapid Re-Housing helped 629 people secure affordable places to live and the demand is growing. Currently, Waypoint works with nearly 20 landlords, but there’s an urgent need for more connections.

“The [Rapid Re-Housing] Program is expanding, we’re seeing more families come through needing this extra support,” Director of Homeless & Housing Services J’nae said.

When individuals are approved for limited financial assistance through the Rapid Re-Housing Program, they have 30 days to secure housing. Once that time is up, they have to reapply, elongating their stays at local shelters. “[Waypoint’s relationships with landlords] enables individuals to get housed quickly, reducing the amount of time they’re homeless,” J’nae said.

Besides helping others, landlords gain several benefits from participating in our Rapid Re-Housing Program:

  1. Eliminate advertising costs. Working with our program gives them access to a pool of ready-to-rent tenants.
  2. “Smart” renters. Waypoint offers a Tenant Academy to our clients on such topics as personal budgeting, understanding rental agreements, housekeeping and general apartment maintenance, being a good neighbor, etc.
  3. Clients have access to time-limited subsidies. Eligible clients can receive a subsidy to help them cover portions of their rent. This allows clients some time to stabilize and build an emergency fund for the future.
  4. Clients are connected with needed services. We work with clients to correct past mistakes and prevent future problems, and through our network of partners, clients have access to an array of supportive services.
  5. Problem prevention through regular case management. Our case managers can connect with clients on regular basis to ensure that clients are stabilized in their new environments, that their jobs are going well, and that they are getting the support they need.
  6. Neutral party to mediate problems. Despite best efforts, problems are sometimes inevitable. The job of a case manager is to be a neutral party, ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and that problems are resolved quickly and impartially.

Waypoint is committed to creating harmonious relationships between tenants and landlords, recognizing the specific needs of each party.

“We recognize landlords are operating a business and we must also understand when a landlord can be flexible with some of their requirements for potential renters without jeopardizing their expectations of those same renters,” Housing Specialist Betty said. Betty explains that these relationships involve empathy on both sides and nurturing these bonds is essential.

In creating smooth transitions into housing for clients, the collaboration between Waypoint and landlords is a significant part of the solution to ending homelessness.

One individual utilizing Waypoint’s Rapid Re-Housing Program arrived in the area with only the limited items he could fit in his car. Housing Specialist Betty connected him to a local landlord who found him an apartment at his boardinghouse. He has resided there for three years now and is doing well.

If you or someone you know is interested in partnering with Waypoint as a landlord, please call (319) 365-1458 ext. 6153 or email jpeterman@waypointservices.org.

Tags: homelessness rapid re-housing non-profit poverty
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