One of the challenges to moving people out of homelessness is finding landlords who will work with people who have evictions or other barriers on their records. One tool that Solid Ground’s Housing Advocates have recently found very helpful is something called “mitigation funds.”
These funds are available to assist landlords in case a program participant of ours needs to be evicted or causes damage to the unit when they move out at the end of their lease. We can pay legal fees, unpaid rent, or necessary repairs. This mitigation of risks allows many private landlords, who can little afford to lose money on their rental properties, to take a chance on renting to one of our participants.
Mitigation funds were critical to getting two of our families housed recently (names have been changed to protect privacy).
Grace’s Story: Mitigating prior evictions
Despite Grace’s $3,200-a-month income from a job at a local hospital, the single mom had two prior evictions preventing her from finding someone to rent to her and her teen son.
Her Case Manager, Sungea Dawson, had been working with Grace for nearly a year to help her increase her income and get more stable, while Housing Advocate Theresa Curry Almuti helped her search for housing. Eventually they got a lead on a landlord who might work with her.
The landlord initially said he would rent to Grace, who had told him up front about her previous evictions, but then he changed his mind. After much back and forth with the landlord and his property manager, we figured out that he was dealing with some other tenants who were behind on their rent, and due to Grace’s previous evictions, he was afraid that she would also not pay her rent. He did not want to have to deal with an eviction for non-payment.
Theresa provided him a letter explaining our landlord mitigation assistance, and he agreed to rent to Grace, allowing her and her son to move into their own housing after being homeless for over a year.
Joelle’s Story: Mitigating bad credit
A similar situation happened with Joelle, who through her own search found a unit for rent in a tri-plex. Carla Wagner, her Case Manager, spoke to the landlord and he said he would like to rent to Joelle and her children. Theresa met with him to inspect the property. He discussed how he was a believer in second chances – that he wanted to be able to give Joelle a chance and help move her family of five out of homelessness – and that he did a credit check simply as a formality.
But when he got back her credit report showing that she had many accounts in collections, he expressed concerns about signing a lease with her. Theresa discussed with him our mitigation assistance and also provided him with this information in writing, and he was glad to be able to rent to Joelle without worrying that he was putting his family’s income at risk by renting to someone with less-than-great credit.
Landlord mitigation assistance is available to Solid Ground through federal and state funding. It is just one of many critical tools that our JourneyHome program has to help our families find housing, and it enabled two families who might otherwise struggle greatly to get approved for housing to move in to their own apartments this month!
The need for this work exceeds current government funding!Pleas donate to help house families