Leslie says she often sees small miracles in her business. But then, her last name is “Angel.”
As the Senior Property Management Director for Project for Pride in Living (PPL), Leslie Angel helps to connect landlords with individuals and families on rent assistance. “When people get housing stability, and then their lives start turning around, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to come to work and be a part of this.”
Housing Choice Vouchers offer hope and a home
Angel and PPL are among the many partners it takes for the Council, through its Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA), to provide thousands of metro-area households with federal rent assistance.
Help comes in the form of Housing Choice Vouchers, which provide a federal payment to landlords who rent to eligible low-income families.
“People sometimes have preconceived notions that these families pay just a small amount of the rent themselves,” said Jane Anderson, Northstar Residential, a residential management company and another partner in the business of housing families.
“That’s not the case,” said Anderson. “The federal rent assistance program is for working families that are struggling to get by. They just need a little help.”
Anderson says it’s important to link families with housing. Without a stable place to live, children can’t thrive and grow up to be responsible adults.
Council hires ombudsman to recruit landlords, work as liaison
The Council’s Metro HRA is working to engage more property owners and landlords like Anderson and Angel.
Metro HRA has hired an ombudsman to ensure successful relationships between program participants and landlords. The ombudsman serves as a one-stop shop to lend guidance and support, help navigate lease agreements and promote better understanding and education about the program. More landlords are key to the success of the voucher program.
In addition, Metro HRA’s Community Choice program helps a select group of families find housing in areas of high opportunity, and provides supportive services to help them succeed.
Renters share first-hand experience
Sonya Lopez knows firsthand what it’s like when you don’t have a place to call “home.”
“I was living in a shelter. It was very hard. I was constantly depressed and crying and wondering when I was going to be able to get my chance to do better in life. I felt like giving up, but I knew I couldn’t because I had my child.”
Today, with the help of a voucher, Lopez and her daughter live in a place where they feel safe, where there are work opportunities and good schools.
The Council’s Metro HRA administers the largest Housing Choice Voucher program in the state of Minnesota, providing housing for more than 6,500 households throughout Anoka, Carver, and most of suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
Across the metro from Lopez, Shaneka Greer says she, too, has moved to a community where she and her daughter feel safe.
“This program has taught me how to be a better renter and a better person,” Greer said. “I’ve never spoken with neighbors before. This program has encouraged me to meet my neighbors and build relationships in the community. I want to build that here.”
Better neighborhoods, better outcomes
Studies show that where you grow up matters. Access to jobs, good schools and areas with less poverty make a difference in economic mobility.
Commitment to community matters too.
“I’m very proud of my work and what I do every day,” said Anderson. “I feel like I’m contributing to the community and providing housing to people that perhaps wouldn’t be housed if we didn’t partner with Metro HRA and accept vouchers. When I go home at night I feel like I’ve done a little part of something good.”
Are you a landlord?
If you own rental property, explore becoming a partner with Metro HRA or call 651.602.1428.