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Housing Procurement and Landlord Engagement January 29 & 30, 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "Housing Procurement and Landlord Engagement January 29 & 30, 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 Housing Procurement and Landlord Engagement January 29 & 30, 2015

2 / 2 Sue Baker, Director, Supported Housing, MPA Society

3 / 3 Topics Today Brief overview of Housing First & the At Home/Chez Soi Study and the housing procurement model Partnering with Landlords and addressing concerns Marketing your program Follow up with landlords & retention

4 / 4 Housing First training video

5 / 5 Housing First and Landlords Housing First is a concept where individuals are provided immediate access to permanent housing with community-based supports. Housing First is not housing only! The housing is often combined with a rent subsidy & supportive services and treatment services which are individualized to each person in the program Participants are seen by the support teams up to daily if needed and includes regular home visits Most often people who are homeless when given a choice will choose a market rental apartment- Just like you & I!

6 / 6 At Home/Chez Soi: Background At Home/Chez Soi is: Largest study of its kind in the world Implemented in 5 Canadian cities Based on Housing First model Action research on how to support people with severe mental illness to exit homelessness An At Home/Chez Soi participant and his Service Provider - Photo is from the Focusing the Frame exhibit, a Participant photography project

7 / 7 At Home/Chez Soi: Housing  Criteria for inclusion: Homelessness Mental Illness  Based on choice: Clients choose their apartment from a selection in a choice of neighborhoods Landlords choose who they wish to house

8 / 8 At Home/Chez Soi: Housing Different models across sites Scattered site private market units Maximum of 30% of income for rent Participants held their own lease Rights and responsibilities as a tenant Efforts to engage landlords Commitment to re-housing and client choice One of the houses in At Home/Chez Soi

9 / 9 At Home/Chez Soi: Housing

10 / 10 Partnering with Landlords: Housing First  MPA’s Role Our role back in 2009, at the start of At Home, was to secure 200 units of market rentals for persons who were homeless and had a mental illness Collaborative effort in Vancouver- three other non-profit agencies providing support services to the participants In 2009, homelessness was a “buzz word”- pre- Olympics - we were unsure if we would be able to secure any units at all for the participants

11 / 11 Partnering with Landlords Housing First  MPA’s Role (Continued) 0.2% occupancy rate in Vancouver Positive social environment - community desire to help the homeless Landlords wanted to be a part of the solution - wanted to be engaged Housing procurement as a separate entity was new to Vancouver and mental health/homeless agencies

12 / 12 Typical Landlord Concerns & Assumptions Client concerns/ assumptions lack of housing references Not suitable for this type of housing Not suitable for this area Obvious mental health issues Obvious substance abuse issues Unemployed/unemployable No credit references Past eviction problems

13 / 13 How we addressed those concerns 1.Separate housing officer  helps to separate housing from support services  Agency pays rent each month directly to landlord- no non- payment of rent issues for landlord!  provides another venue for landlords to express their concerns regarding tenants  gives landlords a sense that there’s someone out there with more familiarity with the landlord’s concerns/risks

14 / 14  makes sure that support teams do not see housing from the perspective of “us” and “them” but as a collaboration involving a variety of people, all with legitimate concerns  allows the housing officer to work as a go-between with support and housing providers – helps the landlord see things a bit more from the service-providers perspective  landlords need to be made into partners in housing. They need to see themselves as not only running a business but in an indirect way also giving back to their community.

15 / 15 We also addressed landlord concerns by….  2.Furnishing the unit  Pre-furnishing – makes unit more inviting to client  Reduces need to bring discarded furniture in off the street  Reduces the risk of bringing bedbugs into the building  Makes unit more live able while client gets settled  Price Pro or other social enterprise

16 / 16 At Home/Chez Soi: Housing

17 / 17 Funding Concerns addressed…. Rent comes from outside agency, not from the tenant Separation of funding and tenancy means that enforcement of tenancy rules or payment can become problematic for the landlord Landlords may believe they have to take all tenant who apply Landlords may believe they cannot evict for cause

18 / 18 Landlords may feel…… Some assumptions about such tenants? Traffic and guest issues Bedbugs Property damage Loss of rental income Risk to the safety of other tenants or building staff

19 / 19 Know your local context  Before developing a marketing plan you will want to consider the following: Know your community What is the local legislation Environmental scan Who is the “competition” and what services/support do they provide? Existing networks Resources Available Champions!

20 / 20 Marketing Plan  What resources do you have available?  What promises/guarantees can you make?  What incentives can you offer landlords?  Funds to support tenants (damages, lost keys, etc.)  Responsiveness  Messaging to landlords  What can they expect?  What do you expect?  Communication

21 / 21 Market yourself and your program Find a Champion in your community!!! Every community has that person that wants to be part of the solution to end homelessness! Build on existed supported housing landlords or other social housing programs Local rental industry groups Trade shows Real estate developers Brochures Videos (ie Calgary property manager video) Handouts/Mail-outs Advertisements in local papers/ trade magazines Secure a tenant insurance program if funding permits

22 / 22 Marketing Your Program & Delivering on Your Promises……. Be proactive- address concerns before marketing your program Separate Housing officer- housing procurement model or identified housing officer within program Separate housing from support Service providers (i.e. ACT/ICM Teams) focus on support, not housing stock Another venue for landlords to express concerns Trust from landlord - familiarity with landlord’s concerns Reduce “us vs. them” thinking Go-between with support and housing The separate housing officer promotes the partnership with the landlord After hours service if available (can be , emergency line, etc) Remember you are not promising problem free tenancy- you are promising responsiveness

23 / 23 Remember, you are not promising problem free tenancy- you are promising responsiveness!

24 / 24 Follow up and Retention With Landlords: Landlord appreciation nights- they talk to each other, network Landlord information sessions Landlords coffee/lunch Certificates of appreciation Cards and boxes of chocolates at Christmas Positive news stories/ media How you respond to this landlord may determine if you continue this relationship in the future!

25 / 25 Follow up & Retention Continued…. Planned Moves over Evictions Easier process for client and the landlord- can be a win-win Evictions are very expensive for landlords and can be costly for clients More time to look for a new place and to work with landlord to address any damage issues Less punitive Landlords feel heard and appreciate responsiveness Client can learn from landlords about what went wrong

26 / 26 Partnering with Landlords: Housing First  Results – The Numbers  As a result of At Home/Chez Soi:  280 people in Vancouver (180 in private market apartments) had the opportunity to live in decent surroundings.  127 property management companies or building managers have been involved at some point over the 5 years  80 clients continue to be successfully housed in their private market housing, many in their original housing, some up to 5 years ( the other 100 clients transitioned into affordable social housing due to sustainability issues with funding)  2 insurance claims over 5 years from 280 people and 380 different apartments

27 / 27 Partnering with Landlords: Housing First  Housing First Learnings  Housing stability outcomes  62% of the Housing First clients were housed for the entire time of the study  73% of the Housing First clients had stable housing throughout the study

28 / 28 Partnering with Landlords: Housing First  Landlord engagement  260 Canadian landlords/owners over the entire study  Many not only continue to rent housing to our clientele, but continue to offer us more stock to add to our programs  Landlords approach us with empty units- model has expanded to other housing first programs

29 / 29 We have had MPA clients since the start of We started with just one and had no troubles and grew to 15 suites in 7 different buildings. Some of the suites filled our buildings at a time it was hard to rent, so the program helped to make us more profitable at the same time as helping the MPA, a great win/ win situation. There have been some situations where the client did not work out, but the MPA did their best to resolve the situation or have the client move. Over all there has been very little trouble that has not been worked out to our satisfaction. I would also like to say that this program from a tax payer’s point of view is fantastic. People that would otherwise be homeless because of mental problems are not on the streets, using the emergency wards, ambulances, police, stealing, etc, and they have some dignity back. We also know that the government building and running housing is very expensive. It seems to me that this is a great example for governments to subsidize the housing using the private sector that can run things much more efficiently. In addition, the people receiving subsides are spread out over the whole city or even the whole country rather than just in one area like the downtown east end.” Fred Vertone, Vertone Properties, West Vancouver,


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