Please note: the Faith & Family Homelessness Project ended in 2016.
If you would like to learn more about the School of Theology and Ministry, please visit seattleu.edu/stm.
If you would like to learn more about School of Theology and Ministry’s Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs, which is working to foster more effective faith-based responses to our most pressing social problems, like homelessness and the affordable housing crisis, visit seattleu.edu/stm/center.
Learn more about the One Home campaign and host a coffee hour for your faith community using our outreach toolkit:
As of March 2015, over 800 families were homeless in King County, waiting and looking for housing while living in emergency shelters or in places not meant for human habitation. Hundreds more single adults and youth sleep on the street, in shelters, on the couches of family and friends, and in their cars everyday in our cities. It’s no news that we have a shortage of affordable housing in King County. And the housing search is particularly difficult for those with any kind of eviction history, criminal history, or bad credit. Even when these individuals and their families have Section 8 vouchers (i.e. guaranteed rent), they often have difficulty finding a landlord willing to rent to them.
Here’s where you come in! As faith communities, you are microcosms of the broader community, and among your congregation you are likely to have members who are property owners and managers – current and potential landlords. To solve the current housing crisis in our region, we need the partnership of landlords.
We at the School of Theology and Ministry have partnered with the One Home campaign, a landlord-agency partnership to end homelessness one family at a time. The partnership seeks to support landlords in using alternative screening criteria in order to rent to homeless tenants who may have certain “barriers” that would otherwise prevent them from getting housing (e.g. past evictions, criminal history, credit issues). One Home providers and programs like the Landlord Liasion Project offer several different kinds of benefits to partnering landlords.
Consider hosting a coffee or happy hour for your congregation to inform and recruit landlords to partner with One Home. We are more than happy to come in to your congregation to talk about the partnership and answer any questions landlords and property owners may have.
Below, find resources to help you plan a coffee hour for landlords in your community:
1. Find out more about the benefits to landlords on the One Home website.
2. Learn about the Landlord Liason Project (a One Home partner) and amazing success stories like that of Raj and Alena (pictured below). Listen to their story, which was recorded as part of the StoryCorps “Finding Our Way” Project and featured on KUOW:
3. Learn about Zillow’s Community Pillar program, which calls on landlords to modify their tenant screening criteria. When they do so they receive a “Community Pillar” badge, which in turn allows renters seeking housing to connect with landlords willing to look beyond their “barriers.”
5. Extend the invite to everyone in your faith community – landlords and non-landlords alike – and invite them to bring a friend along. Anyone may know a landlord and be able to spread the word and engage people in the conversation who may not otherwise be engaged. The coffee hour is a casual information session – anyone and everyone is welcome!
6. Plan an agenda. A few ideas:
- As a kick off, show the short animated film, The Smiths, one of the SU-produced American Refugees films that speaks to the importance of a supportive community in bringing families out of homelessness. This one packs an emotional punch and gets right to the heart of the issue.Download The Smiths Discussion Guide
- Invite a representative from the Landlord Liaison Project (LLP) to come share how the program works and explain how LLP supports both landlord and tenant to ensure a positive tenancy experience for both parties. Contact Larry Todd for more information (206-336-4616).
- If possible, bring a landlord who has partnered with LLP or another agency (e.g. Solid Ground, Wellspring, Neighborhood House) to house homeless families/individuals in to speak to their experience. Play Raj and Alena’s story (featured above) as an alternative (or supplement).
- Give attendees action steps to take. Provide them with the One Home website address and ways for them (e.g. Larry Todd’s contact info, or that of a housing case manager at one of the partnering agencies).
Contact us with any questions and to schedule a coffee hour: