Landlord Engagement and Supporting Youth to Find Housing During COVID-19 - MtS DEMS HF4Y CoP Call - April 2020
HF4Y programs continue to advocate with landlords to provide housing for young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing regulations in place and several other new challenges that have surfaced as a result of COVID-19, HF4Y programs have had to work with landlords to do viewings and application processes differently, and to understand what youth may be going through during the pandemic, as well as collaborating with other community partners to find housing. Below is a snapshot of how MtS DEMS sites are continuing to engage landlords and support youth to find housing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the Making the Shift Prevention Community of Practice (CoP) call that happened on April 28, 2020:
- A large piece of advocating with landlords has been working with them to understand what HF4Y programs have in place to support youth. This is key to relationship building and trust building with landlords who want to fill vacant units while minimizing opportunities for exposure to COVID-19. Several sites have worked with landlords to provide pictures of units, to do virtual viewings, or to organize in-person viewings safely.
- Logistical pieces involved in housing are complicated by COVID-19. Sites are tapping into many different resources to ensure youth are able to do viewings and to move into units in safe and supported ways throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From paying for cabs so youth don’t have to take public transit to go to a viewing, to working with youth to phasing moves and requiring a 14-day quarantine after move-in day, to having staff move belongings in their vehicles, to partnering with moving companies, etc.
- Thinking about what housing will look like after the pandemic should be a key piece in response planning. Communities are responding to housing needs through various collaborations (for example, between youth serving agencies and health providers/authorities), and though these responses are to address immediate challenges in making sure people have housing or enough room in shelters to social distance properly, sites are thinking ahead about how to collaborate like this beyond the pandemic. They are also keeping in mind the potential for evictions to spike once the pandemic is over and eviction bans cease. In the meantime, for youth who they are supporting to receive emergency income supports, they are also working with these youth to understand how their total income in the future may be impacted by their access to these emergency supports.