Becoming Tenant Ready
When Marie lost her job in March, she quickly fell behind in her rent and was evicted from her residence. She began looking for resources to help settle her past due rent and other needs.
“I called United Way’s 211 service line for food and rent assistance. That’s when they directed me to Catholic Charities.”
“When she called us, she was staying with relatives and looking for housing,” says Brian Rome, Family Support and Guidance Coordinator.
Each month, Catholic Charities’ Family Support and Guidance receives over 100 calls from Lucas County families in need of rent assistance. In 2013, Catholic Charities was able to help just a fourth of those callers through distribution of government funding.
Brian knew there had to be a different way to help more people.
“We needed to be more proactive in addressing the eviction problem in Toledo,” says Brian, noting 70% of callers are in the first three months of their lease.
From that observation, Catholic Charities developed the Tenant Readiness program with the help of the Toledo Community Foundation.
“Tenant Readiness works with individuals and families who are looking for housing. We want to make sure they are in a position to afford their housing and maintain it,” Brian says.
Understanding Financial Diligence
Clients meet monthly with Brian to evaluate progress on goals and learn to maintain the responsibilities of a lease agreement. Clients of the Tenant Readiness program are also required to attend a “Managing with Diligence” two-day workshop.
The workshop teaches clients how to become financially stable by managing income and staying current on rent.
“I thought I was saving money and that my methods of saving were ok,” Marie said. “But the way Brian explained it, you have to put money aside for certain situations.”
“Being that I am still unemployed, the little money that I do receive … I put aside. It’s only a little bit, but at least I am saving. That is something I would never have done had I not attended those classes.”
“She had enough unemployment assistance to build a financial cover for herself,” Brian explains. “We sat down and helped her with a budget projection of what she would need to cover her bills and rent.”
With the help from Catholic Charities, Marie is back in her own apartment while she searches for a new job, saves for future emergency situations and plans long-term financial goals.
“Catholic Charities helped me out a lot, and now I am back on track. I am no longer behind on my rent.”
Staying on Track
For Marie, the program helps her to think more about her financial future and prepare for the unexpected.
“You don’t think about this when you’re working,” she states. “You just don’t think you’re going to get let go from your job. But if it does happen and you have set enough money aside for those situations, you will be fine.”
Marie thanks all of the donors who helped make the program possible.
“Those classes are very helpful for someone who wants to do better. Please keep the program going.”