What I have learned from my housing search
(consumer-provider tips for what helped me as a homeless woman looking for housing.)
- People like to help when they see you trying to accomplish a goal.
- Places like libraries and coffee shops are good to center a person. Not having quiet places is so unsettling it may be hard to get work and planning done.
- Look around you for helpers. The people in church, a spiritual group or other group where member have a common goal are just waiting for an opportunity to be a help. Open your mouth.
- Find ways to help with stress. Having little to do besides the search can be very draining. If at all possible volunteer or go to clubhouses.
- Be creative. I mailed letters to plumbing and heating companies asking if any of their customers were landlords. It taught me that no action is really fruitless. When I got depressed thinking of that experience made me even more determined. Being creative about my search empowered me.
This booklet was put together by Maureen Glynn
Observation that I acquired from my doing a weekly housing search group
- You can only push a person so far.
- Doing all the work does not empower the consumer.
- Basic information about housing bears repeating. (info such as how the housing certificate works and practical advice about making calls.)
- Acknowledging that searching for an apartment is hard is very useful. It can spark discussion of what practical needs a consumer may have.
- Encourage consumers to be practical about their expectations.
- Realize that when an individual is homeless they need support with practical issues because the homelessness can hinder a consumer’s ability to make and receive calls to and from landlords. Homeless complications can also make having clean and appropriate attire for apartment appointments difficult.
- Realize that change is difficult. This also applies to positive change. There may be new fears that act as roadblocks for Getting an apartment may be a positive change but, it is also new territory, sometimes scary.
- Respect where the consumer is coming from and work with the abilities the client has.
- Reinforce the idea that this may take a lot of effort but, their recovery is worth it. Ask about past accomplishments.
- Celebrate what things are going well:
- A consumer who shows up every week
- A consumer who show up after a couple of weeks away
- A consumer who makes the effort to see an apartment but, does not get it.