On Friday, April 21st, Opening Doors Fairfield County held a Landlord Luncheon at LifeBridge Community Services in Bridgeport. The event served dual purposes of thanking current landlords for their commitment in partnering with programs that serve the homeless as well as outreaching to new prospective landlords interested in learning more.
Leaders in the movement to end homelessness in Fairfield County spoke on the critical role of landlords in the homeless delivery system. Special thanks and recognition was given to Park City Communities who has targeted 125 vouchers to homeless households.
Programs were highlighted during the luncheon including Bridgeport Housing First that targets the chronically homeless as well as Support Services for Veteran Families and Rapid Rehousing. Samantha Stewart of the Fairfield County Rapid Rehousing program provided a presentation highlighting the costs of homelessness to the community and the economic value of housing people. Stewart also explained how housing programs provide landlords benefits by having a constant waiting list and providing services and financial support to ensure a successful tenancy. The Rapid Rehousing program has demonstrated much success in Fairfield County where 92% of households served never reenter the shelter system after 1 year of being housing.
Roland Brantley, a local landlord, spoke on the benefits of working with the community’s homeless programs. He explained that by working together, landlords can negotiate the profit motive with the needs of the client.
Community landlords had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the various housing programs at the luncheon. “It is critical to forge these relationships with property owners and the City to improve the quality of life for all people,” stated City of Bridgeport Deputy Director of Health Albertina Batista.
David Rich, Executive Director of Supportive Housing Works and Co-Chair of Opening Doors Fairfield County explained that, “It is important to engage and listen to landlords on a regular basis to understand what is needed to keep a successful partnership.”