Why We Decided to Rent Our Condo to a Family in Need of Housing

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Lindsay came to run in a 5K – but it led to providing housing to a family experiencing homelessness.

It was last year, when Lindsay signed up to run in the Hunger Walk & 5K fundraiser, presented by AM and Emergency Food Network. She stopped to read brochures on a table at the end of the race and met Tony, there to represent AM’s Landlord Liaison Program.

Once she learned from Tony that potential tenants were prescreened and received a lot of support from other agencies, renting out her condo to a family in need of housing sounded like a great idea and a perfect fit with she and her husband Mark’s values and desire to help the community.

Several types of risk mitigation, from damage repair costs to rent coverage during repair time, is available to landlords who rent to tenants referred through this program. The units rent at fair market rate and are assured of receiving full rental fees every month. Lindsay and Mark evaluated this to be a solid program in which to consider participating.

Along with making sure the landlords are taken care of, the supportive services of other agencies are critical to helping the referred households succeed in their housing goals. Case managers make regular calls to the renting families to check on them to see how they are doing and if they need any other resources. Building trust through maintaining good relationships is at the core of their success.

Lindsay and Mark eventually completed the application required to join the program as “property partners” and would now wait to hear from one of the agencies anxious to place an unhoused family.

One of those partner agencies was Helping Hand House, which was working with a young family needing housing. The family had already met the criteria and been prescreened for the program. This meant they met the minimum income requirement, had at least one child under 18 in their care, and were referred by a “coordinated entry” agency. Their case manager was able to access LLP’s “housing bank” to see which units, meeting the family’s needs, were currently available.

It wasn’t long before Lindsay and Mark got the call about this young family who was ready to move in. The new tenants came to preview the space and were so excited to realize this would be their new home. They moved in late last summer, with the assistance of Helping Hand House and Northwest Furniture Bank, and are enjoying the safety and security of their new home.

The family has been learning how to be good tenants and accepting help from their landlords, Helping Hand House, and Landlord Liaison Program as needed. They had a good rental payment history until just recently.

Early in April, after both parents lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 situation, the wife contacted her landlord to let her know she could only afford food and diapers. Not wanting to put any additional stress on the family, Lindsay and Mark told them not to worry about paying the rent that month! In the two and a half years since this program began, no landlord had ever waived a rent payment before.

Lindsay credits the tenant herself for speaking up and letting her know of the situation they were in. She was the catalyst for solving her own problem. It takes a great deal of trust between landlord and tenant to resolve a potential issue like this one.

As a nurse, Lindsay fully understands that good health outcomes are tied to stable housing. When asked what being part of the Landlord Liaison Program has meant to her, Lindsay shared it has “given her an opportunity to live out her faith, pay it forward, be a decent human being and be invested in the community.”

And what would she say to another landlord who was considering becoming part of LLP? “Do it, absolutely! Invest in the community and its people. You reap benefits more important than money. You help people launch themselves into a better life.”

Lindsay, we wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for being a life-changer and promoting homefulness in our community!

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