The following is a letter from Mark Alston-Follansbee, executive director of the Somerville Homeless Coalotion. He describes how the Somerville Homeless Coalition operates, and he invites Somerville landlords to learn more about the coalition's programs:
The Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC) started our first housing program, Prevention and Stabilization (PASS), in 2001 with funding provided by the City of Somerville. The program offers Somerville residents who are in crisis with a rental subsidy for a limited time period to help them stabilize their lives. Since 2001 the Coalition has also been awarded funds from the federal government to provide permanent housing for formerly homeless, disabled people. We are now operating five housing programs in and around Somerville in 89 apartments.
SHC enters into a lease with the property owner in our name and we are responsible for the rent and our clients. We then place a client into that apartment. Once housed, the participant meets with one of our supportive service case managers in the apartment as often as necessary to maintain stable housing. The case manager helps with the transition to the apartment and any other needs the client has. Some of the SHC participants eventually move on to other housing, but the Coalition is committed to keeping our clients as long as necessary.
The Coalition would like to thank all the property owners and management companies who currently rent to us. Each participating landlord has found the arrangement where the Coalition is the lease holder to be a benefit, because we are committed to being good, responsible tenant; we pay the rent on time and our staff mediates any issues between the property owners or other residents in the building. We would like to expand our housing program and are seeking other owners interested in talking to us about apartments they have to rent. For more information about this program or the work of the Homeless Coalition, please call Lisa Davidson, Director of Programs, at 617-623-6111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.