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Navigating Home

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by

Adrienne Solenberger

on 18 October 2017

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Transcript of Navigating Home

Don't set clients up for failure.
Aim to view 2-3 housing options with customers before committing.
'Stepping stones' are okay and provide opportunity to generate rental history.
Make a house a Home and neighbors Community.
Smart Housing
Clearly reiterate program expectations.
Connect clients with supportive services as soon as possible.
Provide a housing 'forecast'.
Pre-plan for relapse and MH crisis.
Immediately implement a plan to address their most challenging barrier(s).
Prepare high barrier clients for housing.
1. Don't run! Think outside the box.
When disaster strikes...
Use
all
of your resources; Craigslist, want ads, street postings, and current/previous landlords HousingSearchNW.org.
Maintain a list of landlords and their qualifying criteria for future opportunities.
Word of mouth and partner agencies
The Search for Housing
Tools for building partnerships with landlords and housing high barrier clients.
Navigating Home
X
Here's how to sell your program....
"I assist persons with disabilities and (or) chronic illness with housing. I visit them weekly and check to see if they need any assistance cleaning, getting to a care provider, and of course, making sure they can get their rent in on time and follow their lease...."
Highlight how you save them money and time: routine inspections, monitoring maintenance, and guests. "They have a contract with me that mirrors your lease; my job is to get to them before any issues get to you."
Walk them through the subsidy process.
'NO!' is not rejection:
Fear of inspection.

"I complete the inspections myself and most dwellings pass without issue. Here's what we look for..."
Previous negative experiences with housing programs.
"Tell me what went wrong?... How would you have liked to see the issue resolved differently."
Difficulty managing the behavior stereotypes and realities of working with formerly homeless persons.
"Well that's my job..." Remind the landlord how you are an asset and can save them time, frustration, and money.
Candidate doesn't meet our leasing guidelines.
Verbalize your empathy and respect. Ask for a clear understanding of their minimum qualifications as well as substitution and/or allowances that can be made. "Thank you for your time. I'll keep you in mind in the future when I am sure I have a candidate that fits your needs."
Maintaining Landlord Relationships
Periodically check-in to address questions and concerns.
Complete monthly unit inspections and assist with maintenance requests to minimize 'catastrophe' and maximize priority.
Inform landlords ahead of time about late payments,subsidy changes, and changes in services.
Give notice of extended absences, visiting relatives, service providers, or special events.
2. Provide solutions
3. Ask,"What would work best for you?"
If the violation is irreconcilable, offer to replace the tenant with another candidate.
4. Enforce compliance contracts.
Sustain Housing
Keep service plans personal, active, and balanced.
Break tasks down into small steps and celebrate each success.
Use a client led approach to services.
Empower ownership.
Try, try again... always have fun!
Profile: mid 30s; 7 years homeless
Barriers: No income, some criminal history including DV charges, personality disorder and severe depression resulting in frequent hospitalization for suicidal ideation, chronic alcoholism.
Housing week 1: The fire.

Resolution: MH and CD behavior contract, approved guest policy, harm reduction model.
Housing 1 month: Suicide attempt.
Resolution: mobile medical/MH intensive case management, peer support team, provider team meetings.
Housing 18 months: Successful! Stably housed on a master leased Shelter Plus Care voucher.
Housing Resources:
Socialserve.com
housingsearchnw.org
craiglist.org
kcha.org (King County)
nolo.com (legal encyclopedia for WA landlord tenant law)
solid-ground.org (tenant support for Seattle area)
Tenant Resources:
http://www.fhco.org/pdfs/fh_faqs_for_lls_FHPartnersOfWaState.pdf

http://www.fhcwashington.org/

www.tenantsunion.org/en/rights/section/repairs

http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/your-rights-as-a-tenant-in-washington

Mitigation and Appeals
Rental Applications
Adrienne Solenberger
Landlord Liaison, Opportunity Council
adrienne_solenberger@whatcomhsc.org
Make exits and transitions as smooth as able.
Landlord Challenges
Use HQS inspection standards to your advantage
Use the City of Bellingham Code Enforcement report and County Health Department when able
Have comfortable uncomfortable conversations to address tenant rights, discrimination, and Fair Housing
Utilize the Landlord Liaison Program and tenant mediation.
Refer clients to the landlord tenant clinic as needed
Be prepared for housing by having all your docs in a row before you apply.
Assist clients in developing a renter's portfolio that addresses any barriers to housing.
Be aware of tenants rights, Fair Housing, local ordinances, and how and when to ask for reasonable accommodation.
Make use of pre-housing applications.
Be vaguely transparent and honestly gray.
A mitigation should be submitted at the time of application.It addresses in advance ALL the components for which an application may be denied.
To comply with Fair Housing, landlords are obligated to inform an applicant for why they were denied. If you believe there is a strong enough case, this is when you will file an appeal.
Full transcript