Key 3: Everyone is a VIP
Author Vera Beech is the Executive Director of Community Rebuilders. Founded in 1993, the non-profit agency, is dedicated to ending homelessness and creating safe, affordable housing opportunities in Kent County, Michigan.
Our process relies on treating each partner like a VIP. We adjust our schedules; we adapt to meet their needs. We are flexible, respectful and honoring of their self-determination. We also monitor the entire helping process very closely. A once-a-week sit down is standard for people searching for housing, and if a landlord hasn’t been secured by the end of week, the consumer is instructed to contact us so that additional support can be provided. Once consumers have signed a lease, they talk with their HRS and update their goal and action plan to address the next stages in achieving long-term sustainability.
The reality is that things may not always go as planned even for VIPs. In all partnerships, disagreements and disappointment can occur. The important thing to remember is to handle frustrations and disappointments quickly and consistently. When addressing problems we:
1.Re-evaluate strengths and natural supports to see what might be applied to resolve the situation.
2.Offer extra support in a particular effort
4.Clarify expectations or accountabilities
5.Focus on leaving no persons worse off than they were before the partnership began
Landlords in our community understand the mission of Community Rebuilders, and we understand their perspective. They trust us to represent them, and we trust them to provide quality housing. We don’t have a list of landlords who house CSC offenders, or people with zero income, or persons with bad credit and evictions. The people we serve may have these labels attached to their past, but to us they are VIPs who are going to do all they can to be quality tenants.