Close to a month after the 100 Homes campaign was set to wrap up, officials are continuing with the work of finding homes for vulnerable people in the city.
“We’ve been able to extend the campaign,” Safe at Home executive director Kate Mechan said in an April 22 interview.
The 100 Homes campaign was launched in December by the Safe at Home society with a goal of housing 100 members of the community by March 31.
“Being solution-focused is at the heart of the 100 Homes campaign and we’re just so excited to facilitate a tangible way for landlords to contribute to ending homelessness,” Mechan said when the program was launched. “We want to show that landlords’ needs can be met and upheld, while we work to support some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens.”
By the time March 31 came around, the project had dedicated 12 units and housed 14 people.
A total of six private landlords and four organizations have been involved in making units available to tenants. Along with that, a mitigation fund for participating landlords has been started with a $2,500 donation from 100 Women Who Care.
Mechan said that while those numbers may be a “far-cry” from the initial goal of 100 homes, she is deeming it a success.
Given the tight marketplace with the city’s low vacancy rate (at zero per cent) and the complexity of the work in matching up landlords and tenants and ensuring tenants under the program have the supports they need, housing 14 people in an approximately three-month period is having a big impact.
“It’s making a huge dent,” she said, adding that with interest in the program seeming to increase throughout March, it made sense for the campaign to continue onwards for at least a couple more months.
“It’s been a huge learning curve,” Mechan said, noting the effort that has gone into understanding pressure points for landlords.
She cited the challenges that come with a tight market in finding landlords willing to put their assets on the line if there’s a perception that more vulnerable tenants pose a greater risk.
Under the program, supports are in place to assist tenants as they navigate moving, as well as ensuring they are connected to ongoing supports they may need.
Mechan said the program has highlighted the importance of providing education in both landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities.
The establishment of the landlord mitigation fund also provides some financial assistance for participating landlords who may need to fix a couple of things before they can put their unit out for rent to help make it available quicker or if something breaks down or happens with a tenant when they are staying there.
“It’s a bit of a cushion,” Mechan said.
She noted that while private landlords cannot solve the housing crisis, they can play a crucial role in helping to address it.
As the campaign continues to move forward, Mechan said efforts will be underway to connect with landlords officials may not have spoken with in the first few months.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org