Mike Pikovsky takes a lot of pride in the homes he owns as rental properties, making sure they are well kept and utilities are in good shape.
Among his tenants are families who rely on federal rent assistance in the form of Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers for a place to live and call home.
“I respect my tenants and I want my efforts and properties to be respected in return,” said Mike. That’s why he’s so pleased with his recent experience with Marjorie, who needs the federal housing assistance to help make ends meet.
Marjorie has a disability and lives with and takes care of five grandchildren.
“I’m just very grateful for the program, but also for Mike,” said Marjorie. “I can’t say enough about him. He’s a wonderful landlord and person. He takes care of things and is so understanding.
“I hugged Mike when he said we could live here,” said Marjorie. “He has made his house our home. The kids like it here. I feel supported, so I can focus on taking care of the grandchildren and not have to worry all the time about where we’re going to stay.”
Mike appreciates the partnerships that make his house a home
“She writes me notes a lot,” said Mike, who says Marjorie is “appreciative and considerate.”
“One time, one of the kids broke a window by accident,” Mike said. “Marjorie fixed it and paid for it and let me know right away. I told her she didn’t have to do that, but I appreciate knowing about it and the connection we have.”
Mike will admit that not all of his rental experiences have gone so smoothly. He says it helps to have a direct link with the agency that issued Marjorie’s voucher; namely, Abdiaziz Ibrahim at the Metropolitan Council’s Metro HRA.
“He’s the guy I call when I have issues or concerns about the program,” said Mike. “I call him directly and he calls me back. I don’t get stuck in some automated voice messaging system. We communicate directly.”
Program ombudsman brought Mike and Marjorie together
Metro HRA hired Ibrahim in 2017 as an outreach coordinator and ombudsman to help “bridge the divide” between families and property owners. It’s his job to help people navigate the rental process and teach renters the skills needed to be successful long-term tenants.
“Knowing that I’m helping people, like Marjorie and her family, is one of the reasons I like working with the program,” said Mike. “Income often doesn’t cover the cost of housing and other things people need, and they need support.
“Another is economic,” said Mike. “Metro HRA is a reliable agency and I can count on a steady source of rental income.
“It’s a partnership that works out for me and helps others.”
About Metro HRA
Metro HRA administers the state’s largest Housing Choice Voucher program. The program relies on the existing private rental market and provides payments to private property owners on behalf of renters who have low incomes. Eligible households pay 30% to 40% of their incomes for rent, and Metro HRA pays the remainder, within established rent guidelines.
The Metro HRA service area includes Anoka, Carver and most of suburban Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.
Metro HRA rental assistance