25 Feb Our Housing Programs Explained
Vail Place housing programs focus on providing services that help people find safe, stable and affordable living environments in their communities, with the end goal being successful long term housing retention. Existing partnerships with community agencies such as HousingLink, PPL, Homes For All, local housing and redevelopment authorities, county housing coalitions, Opportunity Starts at Home, and MHFA (among others) allow us to coordinate services more effectively. Rather than simply “placing” renters in housing, Vail Place housing staff work alongside individuals to educate and develop individualized goal plans that identify settings to properly meet needs, as well as maintaining support well into their tenancy.
Tyler Keyes is Housing Program Manager for Vail Place. For the past six years Tyler has performed various roles within the organization to help individuals find and keep affordable housing. From this perspective, he has seen tremendous growth in the services Vail Place provides.
“We’ve definitely expanded our impact in terms of housing, which is typically one of the two biggest goals for individuals along with employment,” Tyler says. “Not only has our staff grown along with the number of programs we support, our reach within the community has become much more significant as well. We’re engaged with many more community partnerships and housing coalitions. This means we’re at the table, on the front lines and able to see new legislation as well as new subsidized programs as they’re created. That helps our own services stay current and able to better handle these new opportunities as they’re being initiated.”
One of the major differentiators within Vail Place housing programs is how proactive the staff is in building and maintaining relationships with landlords. This has been crucial as the amount of affordable housing within our communities decreases. The team’s proactive approach to staying in touch with tenants, and seeking to prevent rather than merely remediate issues, also helps create stronger bonds with landlords and encourages them to welcome individuals referred by Vail Place for housing. As Tyler says, “we like to keep the pulse on each tenant’s happiness factor.”
Vail Place members who participate in the housing program are often eager to explain its importance:
“The Vail Place Housing program helped in getting my own apartment after I had been having a difficult time on my own finding a property who would rent to me. I appreciated how my housing worker was patient and reassuring about everything during the search. I was really anxious about the unknowns but am happy to say that I now have a place that I love.” – Darnell L.
“The housing staff at Vail Place provided me the right kind of support when I needed it most. I had been kicked out of my previous apartment. I started working with Vail Place and they helped me in saving my voucher and locating new housing. My new apartment is much better than my last one and I like that I still get assistance and response from Vail Place regularly, to help me keep my housing.” – Steven G.
“Anytime I have needed help with my subsidy recertifications, benefit changes, rent increases, or maintenance requests, I have been able to go to Vail Place to assist. I was worried I was going to need to move out earlier this year, but Vail Place helped me speak to my landlord and stay in my apartment.” – Dave M.
Vail Place housing programs include :
- This program assigns a designated housing specialist to referred individuals who are receiving case management services and in need of extra assistance surrounding their housing goals.
- Housing specialists combine community resources and landlord relationships in working to overcome barriers towards new housing acquisitions.
- Clubhouse is the first stop for many seeking housing and provides the fundamental tools when it comes to housing assistance.
- Weekly drop-in and open house hours at both the Hopkins and Uptown Minneapolis Clubhouse locations allow members to receive direct assistance without the need to schedule an appointment.
- The Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) program was established via grants awarded from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to the Hopkins Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and the St.Louis Park Housing Authority.
- Our Service Coordinators work directly with residents at designated public housing buildings to provide education, consultation, programming, and resources to tenants.
- Vail Place has eighteen units of affordable housing in St. Louis Park for Long-term Homeless individuals who have a serious and persistent mental illness. Tenants pay 30% of their income and are responsible for electric, phone, and cable.
- Our housing staff at Louisiana Court works closely with Coordinated Entry, a county-based service that prioritizes housing opportunities for those that are homeless, to fill vacancies.
Vail in the Park
- Vail Place owns a project-based apartment building in St. Louis Park called Vail in the Park. It is a permanent subsidized housing setting where tenants pay 30% of their income toward rent.
- All units are filled through Vail Place’s internal waiting list and assigned to a housing specialist to support in maintaining housing.