Helping families transition from homelessness to permanent housing is the mission of Leading Families Home, and that process involves almost all of our team members in one way or another. One of those key team members is our Licensed-Certified Housing Inspection Specialist.
The Housing Inspection Specialists enter the housing process once they are sent a referral for a Participant from a case manager. This happens when a Participant successfully completes our program at Beach House Family Shelter and is ready to find housing.
The first step for Housing Inspection Specialists is to help educate Shelter Participants through a Tenant Education and Retention Class. (Due to COVID-19, LFH has put this training on hold.)
This class helps Participants understand what is expected of them as a housing tenant, including what it means to be a good tenant, tenant rights, landlord rights, and legal processes involved in the housing process such as eviction, escrow, etc.
Finding & Inspecting a Unit
Next, the Housing Inspection Specialist helps the Participant find a housing unit. This is done in a variety of ways – the Specialist may give the Participant leads or the Participant may find a unit themselves. The Specialists then work with the landlord of the unit to answer questions and explain the housing process.
Once a housing unit has been identified, the Housing Inspection Specialist conducts an inspection of the unit. The inspections are rigorous and must pass a HUD exam for safety and security.
The Housing Inspection Specialist then reviews the lease to ensure everything is presented properly and legally. They also work out the logistics and financial considerations of the lease with the landlord, along with other paperwork.
Once the lease is approved, the case manager is responsible for arranging the lease signing. (Due to COVID-19, the Housing Inspection Specialist may help with this in some instances.)
The tenant is then housed in his or her unit, and the process is complete, save for an annual inspection that is performed for each tenant, with an emphasis on safety and security.
If needed, the Housing Inspection Specialist also accompanies the case manager on trips to the landlord’s office or tenant’s housing unit, if anything needs to be resolved between the landlord and tenant. The most common occurrences involve requested repairs or damages to the unit.
Several landlords that our Housing Inspection Specialists have worked with in the past, or are currently working with, have needed to resolve disputes with Beach House Family Shelter Participants, who become the landlord’s tenants.
If a housing unit is damaged in some way, it may exceed the amount of the tenant’s deposit. This can create a situation where a landlord may begin to lose money on the unit.
As remarkable as it may seem, most of these landlords are willing to continue to work with the Beach House Family Shelter program, with both the current tenants and new tenants.
One of our Housing Inspection Specialists had this to say:
I think this is a testimony to the legitimacy of what we do. I think many of our landlords, whether they’re private or part of a larger corporation, know that our agency, the case managers, are involved with the Participants and will be responsive to the landlord’s concerns.
I think it also speaks to the value of what we do, and that many of the landlords feel that we are capable enough at our jobs to actually help our Participants to a better life. Kind of like when you give money to a charity, you want to feel that the charity is legit and competent so your efforts aren’t wasted.
So while our Participants can present as rough around the edges, and need some patience and understanding, it’s always refreshing when the landlord goes that extra mile to work with us, and them, instead of resorting immediately to eviction/non-renewal of the lease.
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Help Us Out
Leading Families Home is based in Toledo, Ohio. We are dedicated to fighting homelessness in our community – and we’d love your help! Please consider supporting our organization in one of the following ways:
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Mail your check to the following address:
Leading Families Home
2283 Ashland Ave.
Toledo, OH 43604
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