There is a need in our community, right outside our own doors. Many people are struggling to find permanent and even temporary housing. This week we sit down and talk with leadership in Micah Ministries and talk about how those needs can be met. If you are interested in getting involved with the ministry, please reach out to Josie Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org. This episode was made possible by the FAAR Technology Committee. To learn more about committees and how to get involved, check out faarmembers.com.
MacKenzie Rathbun 0:01
Welcome to FAAR Louder, your official Association podcast. What par does for both its community and the agent members wouldn’t be possible without
our great committees. Today, we’re
going to talk to Michael Branon, the chair of the tech committee to learn a little bit more about what they offer and how they’re a resource for you. Thank you, Mackenzie, I
Michel Brannon 0:22
appreciate you having me on the FAAR louder podcast.
MacKenzie Rathbun 0:25
Yeah, we’re really excited to have you and to learn more about the tech committee. So can you tell us a little bit about what that is? And what you guys do?
Certainly. So a group of us gather once a month. And then we talk about technology, obviously, what our goal is to try to make things useful for the committee, and ultimately for the community at large.
MacKenzie Rathbun 0:51
So you guys have done like specific things like covering how to make videos, but you’re also covering some new topics, interviewing local officials, right? What are you guys doing with that recently?
That’s right, we have been talking with various county officials about their broadband plans, as well as what they’ve done so far, in trying to increase the reach of broadband to bring it to more people.
MacKenzie Rathbun 1:14
Absolutely. And that’s more necessary than ever. So it’s probably been really helpful for your businesses to know what broadband is available, where and what they’re planning to do in the future. So thank you so much for helping move these issues forward.
Yeah, you’re right, man, it’s great to help our business. So we know exactly what areas habits so we can communicate that to our clients. But we also want to, to push the county if that’s the right way to put it to try and get these things done sooner rather than later.
MacKenzie Rathbun 1:44
Yeah, it’s absolutely necessary. Everything is online now or becoming more virtual every day. That is,
that is so true in every capacity.
So did you have any of the meetings that were like your favorite topics to cover?
I mean, I love talking about technology, new technologies. Specifically, we get in there we talk about the latest apps, and not just the new ones, but the ones that were using maybe using definitely, or the new features. You know, there’s a few Well, I won’t shout out any of them right now. But we talked about those and how to use them in your business, the strategies to best implement those technologies, as opposed to just here’s another piece of tech have added. We try to help people use those technologies to the best of their ability.
MacKenzie Rathbun 2:30
Yeah, as a hands on committee, you usually have your committee meetings, but then you usually have like a tech time afterwards. It’s kind of built into that, right?
We do. We have a great tech time. And we have a calendar, as you can see on the far website to see what topics are coming up. But we’d like to join in the tech time but also feel free to come to the tech committee so that we can increase the diversity and figure out more of what our members want to to learn about.
MacKenzie Rathbun 2:58
If you’re interested in getting involved or learning more about the tech committee, email. Lauren’s is at El Sousa at bar members.com so be able to help you get started and to answer any questions you might have. Up next we have a great segment with Kim McClellan, our public policy director, and she interviews some leadership from mica ministries. One I am Kim McClellan,
Kim McClellan 3:19
the Public Policy Director here at far and I am very excited to be joined today by two fabulous ladies with Micah ecumenical ministries who are doing wonderful housing work in our community. First we have peg Phillips who is the home development leader I think I got that right from my get unpacked, just tell us a little bit about what that means. What do you really do every day?
I am in charge. Good morning. First off, I am in charge of the case management with Mike administration as well as the housing locator Josie. I also wear the hat of the income I’m in charge of the income department for for mica so basically what that means is I oversee anything and everything to do with housing from landlord landlord liaison to case management of clients to to locating the property that we need for the clients going into housing. Just all over housing.
Kim McClellan 4:27
Great. Josie is the Community Housing locator. So Josie Josie is no stranger to far. She has been a mortgage and mortgage and it was a member of far. So nice to talk to you Josie. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do for mica you’re still on mute Josie.
Sorry about that. Good morning. Well, you gotta love zoom. Good morning as the Community Housing locator, who services mica ministries as well as the stable homes Partnership, which is the umbrella under mica ministry, Sturman Brisbane, shelter, losing hope house as well as empower house. So as their housing locator It is my responsibility and my job to partner with landlords, property managers, private owners, basically locate housing the inventory itself for our communities, to service and partner with case managers, which peg Phillips manages, as well as the other leaders of the other agencies are servicing our homeless community. So I really am a support person to the teams to make sure that for one the landlords have been updated on educating them on the programs that we have, as well as being an advocate to our community, neighbors, and such as our clients as we call them in real estate. They need someone to make sure that they’re being guided towards fair housing, make sure that they know what area they’re going into. So I consider myself the non official realtor to our homeless community. And I take that very seriously, as well as the communication and the relationship with the realtors and property managers and landlords and all that good stuff. Yeah, well, your
Kim McClellan 6:29
job must be incredibly hard these days, because inventory is obviously an issue all across the board. Okay, this is going to be a really interesting conversation for our property managers. So I know we were talking before we started recording that the last year has been a very uneasy time for everybody. But specifically to landlords, you know, am I going to get that rent check that will allow me to make my mortgage and pay for the maintenance on this home. So that has been fun, front and foremost, for a lot of our property managers over the past year. And what I love about these programs is this is so appealing, I think for property owners be able to work with an organization like yours to have that dependable stream of tenants who come with support, both financial support and with those sort of wraparound services. So I know we’re sort of talking that inside baseball. So let’s kind of go through the programs that you all offer, and what that might look like for the homeowner and the property manager to work with this program. So I’ll let either one of you decide who’s going to start talking.
That would be me. Also, I have, I have, I mean, a whole buffet of programs that I can offer. It really depends on the the interest and the availability. But let’s just start with because peg Phillips, my leaders here, specifically with the mica ministries, or our singles and talk about singles, split that down singles and families. So with our singles, we have a lot of different programs that are funded, locally, federally, as well as state. And those would be such as for our singles with some disabilities and things of that nature or need more permanent long term care, we have our permanent support housing, through mica ministry specifically, it’s very different but is very special of the invoice very fortunate to work on that this year with Miss peg. And our permanent support housing is a program where we offer services to a certain demographic of people in our community that need have been disabled or having need of housing or community services for long term. And we offer where we will put the lease in our name. We want to go ahead and service that client ourselves with mental services, health services, income services, but most importantly, what a lot of permanent support housing, the lease would be in their name, you know, you become their landlord. With this permanent support housing specifically, you’re our land that we become their landlord, but we rent to you as a property manager. So for one, the rent is guaranteed 100% no have to worry about collecting that. The utilities are also in our name. So we really 100% are on board financially as well as committed to the client as well.
Yeah, so I think that cannot be stressed enough. So it was just to make sure I understand. You are partnering with mica for this program is permanent supportive housing, housing program. Mica as the agency is the lease, not the individual relationship that contract relationship is with is with a nonprofit, not with the individual Cobra is amazing. I mean, that kind of connection and commitment from mica has to put property owners minds at ease, if they’re working with maybe a more challenging client who’s coming out of The hospital or incarcerated or something where you can work so directly with that landlord, and then that landlord has a problem or question they can call you all right, you are eligible for that kind of communication.
Correct. Now, I’m just one person that you’ve got a team of. But most importantly, there’s some things that you are restricted as a landlord, you can’t tell them they can’t have company after 9pm. You can’t tell them they can’t have overnight guests. That’s why it’s so important to partner with an agency that supports you and supports that client and the best that they can. And that’s what this program allows us to do. Miss peg is leading this program and her whole staff is very well educated, equipped, and they’ve been doing this for many years. And they’re so successful that when the state gave out extra funds, after all of this COVID, Fredericksburg was named specifically for this program to receive additional funding to the state. So I feel really confident that this program is not only successful has been successful. But through this COVID time, as a landlord, I know that you’ve all been burned with people just camping out at the house or not paying and this cares act, you really weren’t protected the whole time. If you had this program, you would have never gone through that. Miss peg Phillips would have never allowed that. And we as an agency don’t stand for that either. We take care of our community, and that includes our landlords as well. So that’s just powerful. So that’s just one of the programs. You also have a rapid rehousing, which under Rapid Rehousing, I service families as well as individuals, and also victims of domestic violence. And that funding is the the funding is really specifically meant to be used for getting someone out of their situation, which is homelessness as fast as possible, and then get them through our services, our community, we get them the services they need, get them to where they’re independent, as fast as possible as well. So that funding for that client can be anywhere from three months to two years. And we disclose and we will communicate with the landlord every three months letting them know how much of a subsidy we’re going to give them 100%. And it can change because you know, we become their community as as housing, if they fall short if an illness comes about, unlike other tenants that don’t have a mom or dad to bail them out. They have us not that we bail them out, but where they’re supporting system, where the ones that come in, and if a child is sick for two weeks, you can’t help that. But they shouldn’t be in this dash, right, they shouldn’t have to choose their child’s health or their or their rent. So we are their support system. And again, we were very successful through COVID. With that program, we had the keys for Christmas. We house. We didn’t quite hit 95 homes in 90 days. But we were close. And we did that as a community. I was very proud. As as my second year going into as a housing locator. It was really, really a proud moment to see how together we came and everyone was supportive. And those families stayed inside through the holidays and after the holidays and they’re still inside.
It’s really exciting. And that’s the other funding program that I have. And I recently have been partnered with other leaders in my servant, leader making Cotter, she, Brainiac and she gets us involved in so many projects. If it has to do with the community. We’re there. And I’m now part of a team to help assist with section eight vouchers, specifically our youth vouchers. That’s a little different funding. That’s not too Rapid Rehousing, but it is through housing through HUD program. And we are familiar with all with section eight. Who makes me excited about this section A program is for particularly or a group of demographic of people that are between the age of 18 and 25, Kim, and these people have had to have been in foster care before. So they were in foster care, they turned 18. And we all know if we don’t have a family and a community behind us, it could be hard to imagine being a foster child, then you come out to the world at 18 years old without a village without a backing. That’s where we come into play. And we say we’ve got a voucher for you for the next three years. And it’s not just a regular section a voucher, we’re not just going to inspect the property, send you in there, pay the rent, and then hope you got it in three years. doesn’t work that way. We’ve all know that that’s not been very successful. So what we’re doing now is we’re promising agency backing with each one of these voucher recipients and mica Hope house and other agencies are owning these individuals, and we’re becoming their village. I mean, it’s a beautiful thing. But as you know, inventory short, yeah. And they don’t need just a one bedroom. Some of them have, you know, been married, some of them have started a family. So we need all scopes of inventory. So
yeah, absolutely. And I think that it, you know, when you think about a bin not obviously involved and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, but he’s been close enough to it for years to know that these vouchers do not come around at the time. Somebody who comes in and says, Hey, I’m interested in it, and it seems years long wait, this is really incredible than slow having these. And I know that, you know, I think about myself at 18, would I have been able to just start my life without my family and my friends his support? No, I mean, this is on you think about yourself at 18. It’s hard to do that. And this is such a great opportunity. So that brings me to a question about inventory. Obviously, this is not something that the realtors need explanation on, they are feeling it every day, with every buyer that they have, but specifically for you all, what kinds of housing, are you looking for size? Right? Where are they sharing homes? Are they all together? What
what kind of homes are
you looking for? And is there a specific geography so some of our property managers are listening can maybe be thinking about their property owners that they represent. And you know, might this be a good fit? So kind of those two things, what kind of homes and then Where are you looking? If there are any specifics?
Well, right now, if you look, I mean, I’m sure it was a US as professionals, or one, the average one bedroom is like 15 $100, here in Fredericksburg, that’s a lot of money. And, you know, my leader, peg Phillips has taught me that, if we can get right just a little bit lower, we can help just one more person to more people. So affordable housing is hard for permanent support housing, those are for individuals or Mike, or any single person, we need a one bedroom with Miss Phillips has led her program that has been successful when they’ve been one bedrooms for our premier support housing, so we can truly focus on the healing of that person, and be structured that way. So a one bedroom is needed as like I said, One bedrooms are hard to find right now, we just don’t have a lot of them. You know, we keep building new construction, but there’s not many one bedroom studios in there. So one bedrooms are definitely needed. We like to keep our our guests who don’t drive close to the bus line. And not only close to the bus, not just think about the community that we’re giving, we have mental health services. So we need to be close to the you know, maybe the health department or rcsb I need to be close to the to the hospital. So with that being said, again, two to 4012 to 4072 to 408 some parts of Stafford might be okay, we just don’t want to send them all the way like to Caroline, because there’s just not a lot of transportation out there. That could be a barrier and you know, public transportation until we can improve that we definitely want to keep them close to the city of Fredericksburg, which is where most of their doctors are farm. And we want to make sure we still keep them in there, their services. So that’s very important. Um, and for our families, two and three bedrooms, we really don’t need large homes. We just need you know, again, two to three bedroom that could fit a family of three to four, you know. So we do have some singles that through Rapid Rehousing because they don’t all have permanent support housing that do become roommates. So some of those two bedrooms would be for our Rapid Rehousing individuals that are not married or have children. So again, from a work from a studio to a three bedroom, and some of our section eight voucher recipients because they are younger, and that not all have children. I’ve spoken with the housing specialist over essential housing, and she has educated me that a basement can work as well. So if you have a home and maybe you’re in law suite, or children went away to college and didn’t come back, and you have a basement with a kitchen, it just has to have a kitchen, a full bathroom, a living room with a window and a bedroom with a window. They can’t pay like a percentage of the utilities, it has to either be included or have a separate meter. So, for example, I’m speaking to an owner right now a private owner that is able to do the basement and she says I’ll just include a flat rate for the utilities. And I said yes, ma’am. And she said, Well, I have a door that goes upstairs. Oh, that’s easy. We just have to do came to see you don’t have access to the basement, because we want to, you know, HUD specifies that the housing unit has to be theirs, and only they have access to what they need.
That’s right on that property. That’s
Kim McClellan 20:13
right. But I remember raising four kids, I always had an empty basement, it was their hangout spot. So hi, you’re COVID if you want extra income, and you don’t have to wait months to get qualified to be a landlord partner, to Central Virginia, those ladies are the sense of urgency is just as well and equally, you know, portrayed because they’re, they’re approving people a lot faster. I have a specific person in Central Virginia that if I have a landlord, who has never rented to section eight, I can make an indirect introduction, and it’s taking care of it’s no stress whatsoever.
So that brings, that’s a great segue into my next set of questions is, let’s talk about some of these processes. I know sometimes people may think this is a hard process to get involved in, it’s going to take a long time for my house to get inspected. You know, once I’m in the program, do I still have autonomy over my units? And do I still get to you know, you know, how does that the tenant application process working and walk us through a little bit of that?
Yeah. So the tenant application process in reference to All Programs in
general, or would you? Anyone in specific Can I think that we talked a little bit about Mike is program, currently the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Okay, so the second, the vouching choice, the house, I’m sorry, section eight voucher, I’m a butcher that name I apologize. So that process, if you are interested, so we have to first make sure that you are an approved landlord, and that your property can be approved. So we have a team essential Virginia, that we have the paperwork, we email it to you, it’s very touchless, even in this in this time that we’re in, have a full package, we show interest, we get your property approved and get you approved. And then once you’re approved, then the tenants filled out whatever application you have, just like everyone else, if you have an application fee that will be granted. If you have a residential application, that will be planted as well. And we work together with the client to apply for that. So it can take anywhere from a week to two weeks, it does not take longer than that. And that’s for we have to schedule the inspection of the property, we want to make sure it’s compliant. And we want to do that right the first time. So once the property is approved, then the client applies. And then we get it get done. The fastest one I’ve seen done is about a week and a half. And that works from inspection application to inspection to a check in the email check ready to give in hand to move the person?
Unknown Speaker 22:55
Yeah, that’s a very reasonable timeframe. Okay. Absolutely. And we like to,
I’d like to add about the inspections. Because if I were a property manager or a homeowner, I would probably be a little bit a little bit wary of Oh, my goodness, what are they going to find in my property. And I guess where I stand for that is that perhaps you’ve had tenants for for years and have had different tenants in your property for years, you may not even be aware of what problems there are in that house. So having a fresh start with, with their inspection, which is is quite detailed from what I understand that that is the property management and the owners. Really good way to look at it is that you’re getting a really good set of fresh eyes on your property, so that you can address the problems that are there before they become big problems. So
Kim McClellan 23:58
yeah, that’s a great point. Yeah, that makes sense. Know what you’re dealing with having another set of eyes and inspection and have it done in a timely manner and get you know, get a tenant in the re.
That’s right. Yeah,
Kim McClellan 24:11
that’s great. Okay, and what about you how your programs work through my MLS, or
through mica as well as losing losing hope house I don’t want to make it seem like every because he’s only like, we just happen to have the only Raider for Miko right now we have a great partnership. So with those units, if a landlord has interest in renting to us, they will come to me or any of our other housing Okay, as me specifically I inspect the property myself. My leaders have given me a standard and a checklist that I go by. I also do visual inspections in reference to lead based paint and we’ll instruct if you know anything comes up in that manner. I work closely with my landlords so if I do see something, my process is a little bit different. So I have a checklist and Some things come up that don’t comply to our standards, we’ll have a conversation. I have tiny, it’ll be something simple like not enough smoke detectors or the windows don’t lock and they didn’t even know it. Like Pegg said, sometimes you just don’t even know you don’t know the house, you don’t live in it, you just own it. So I go through it, make sure that you know the filters, okay, make sure that everything is working order. I’m not looking for granite, stainless steel berber carpet. I’m not looking for HGTV perfect home, I’m looking for habitability. I’m looking for comfort, safety for our clients, um, their eyes, and they trust me and so do the agencies to make sure that we’re putting them in habitable and safe home.
Absolutely. Yeah, that makes sense. I think that that you know, resonates with our property managers too. They even though they don’t work for the tenant, they work for them when the landlord, but they do have a relationship with that tenant, they’re the ones often they’re going in and inspecting and, you know, doing the move in and move out inspections, and it’s getting the call from the tenants if there is something wrong. So they often you know, develop a relationship with those with those tenants. And a lot of times the owners are not, they’re not local, they don’t live here. So to know that there’s no yet another set of eyes and yours in that facility in that unit, you know, making sure that it’s a spam, check their investment. That’s That’s great.
Kim, I haven’t mentioned a very important part of our team. And I don’t think people talk about them enough. And it’s our housing navigators. We also call case managers, they’re not social workers, they are case managers, housing navigators. They walk beside me. And beside me the whole time, from the moment that we we locate an individual to I inspect the home, that we go and show the home to the client and meet the landlord. They’re not quite there without the client, so they kind of decline. That’s why I’m going to I really want to brag about him right now. Because I don’t think people talk about them enough. They are the ones who are holding hands. So when they first move in, and they have that five day inspection, you know, the five days to find something wrong, or they have five days to do it. A lot of people don’t even practice that or take advantage of that time because they don’t know how to. That’s why housing navigators come into. They help them with that they become the advocate, when they have questions that they feel that they should ask the landlord, the housing navigator comes in and says, Wait, let’s talk about what we’re going to ask him. See if we can answer that ourselves. See if Josie has that answer before we go and take that extra step truly teaching them not only how to be a good neighbor, a good tenant, but just to just understand the process itself. We we equip them with education. So utilities How do I turn the pilot on just t hose phone calls that you receive as a landlord that you’re just like me and I wish I wish their dad or Where’s their
realtors get those questions after people buy the house to
No kidding, I
Kim McClellan 28:00
remember we’re not all born knowing how to have
as homeowners we know the struggle. And these are these are renters and they haven’t rented in a long time. So our our house navigators are angels on wheels, man, they really come in, they help with the utilities. They make sure that if if nobody’s answered the phone at the door, and nobody neighbors have seen anybody come out, let’s have somebody go out there and check on them. That’s their, that’s their fiduciary obligation. That’s what they do. They make sure that our guests are okay, they make sure that no one that’s not on that leaves is staying in that home. I mean, they’ve got tricks to the trade that they’ve taught me, I’m talking about how many toothbrushes are in that bathroom. I know somebody’s smiling right now, that’s me that trick. And I couldn’t be successful, I couldn’t wear my my head on strong in this community. If it wasn’t for their work on the field, we wouldn’t be successful without them. So I really want to stress them to stress the fact that they are on board and they are part of this process.
Yeah, I think so. What’s really you know, been very strong for me over these years learning about your programs is that you’re not just signing a contract in a lease you are joining this community of those thrilly you know, doing great work and and really making a huge difference. So yes, there are huge advantages for landlords in terms of you know, very little downtime on the market. If you have a client that’s moving out. You don’t need to sit there and worry about getting you know getting the photos putting on the MLS doing all this you can say hey, Josie, okay, these are the hours you have a client for me and have very little downtime, which is huge. Right Time is money when you have absolutely, that’s a big deal for the landlord.
Absolutely. If I can keep some of your marketing budget down on advertising. If I do my job correctly as my leader is expected of me, you shouldn’t have to call me and tell me you have a free unit coming up. I should know and Even if you tell me no, this year, I just rented it out in June. And I’m gonna call you next year and say, Hey, I remember that when we talked about a year ago, we are that much in need of of inventory. So yeah, you’re right, please allow me to, you know, I
don’t want to take the the revenue away from the property managers. That’s not what I’m trying to do. We don’t run a property management company. But I definitely want to partner where there’s no vacancies. We have zero gap of tenants in there. But what a great thing to tell your owners, right? I’m I own this property, you know, somebody who’s managing it for me and be able to say, Hey, I have made a connection in this community, I have created a partnership with, you know, the mica and the other agencies to keep your unit rented to the maximum capacity that you can. And that’s the selling point. Yeah,
absolutely. Can I like to brag a little bit on if people will be like, why are you talking about that, but can you share your story, we had a tenant, a client, who we had housed. And unfortunately, the tenant was displaced, for legal reasons. And the home, in a regular situation, that landlord would have been, would have had to clean up the apartment, take all the things out, and make sure they hire crew to get all that stuff done. And the spec will take about a month. Well, our team jumped on board immediately. We not only made sure all personal things were taken care of and given to his family. But we went on, we went ahead also cleaned out the apartment, and thought and put another family in there. That did not cost the landlord not one penny. They did not have to clean out they did not have to paint. We made sure we took care of everything. And we handed them a new tenant without any gap of time. I like to think that’s a success story right there. Oh, absolutely. Because in doing COVID mentioned doing COVID, right, and I and that’s what we stand for. We not nobody gets left behind nobody, right? And when from a property management
perspective, when we think about evictions, they’re time consuming. They’re stressful for for all parties involved. But certainly, you know, for the tenants. One of the benefits, I think, with this program is that you can you work to actively avoid that outcome, you address those problems before you’re getting to the point where you’re three months behind on rent, and, you know, maybe sure you can handle terms in the lease, these are things that you can deal with upfront, those individuals have support. So if they do experience a life event, like a car breaking down or medical issue, you can help them before it becomes a problem. And before it becomes destabilizing for that tenant to That’s right. Moving around is does not provide a stable environment for anybody at all families and children and betrayals. It’s really a great benefit for both sides.
Absolutely. I mean, a lot of us are working from home, our neighbors our home more often. So we want to make sure we have good neighbors, and we’d like to be a part of that process.
So before we leave, I want to make sure that if people are interested in talking with you, even if it’s just having an introductory conversation, just say hey, I don’t know that I have any properties right now. But I know that I haven’t coming up in August and my homeowner is interested. How do they get in touch with you? What is the best way to find this information and to reach out to you?
Yes, ma’am. You can contact me via cell phone. My direct number is 540-760-3310 My email address is Josie as my first name j o s i e at do d o l o v e w a okay do love what that net and that’s my email address and also our we have stable homes. partnership that peg Can you help me Is it that org for that net? I apologize. That stable homes partnership that org We are under our program is under the continuum of care here in Fredericksburg. But best thing to do just call me. Let’s have a conversation. I’m asked me anything. I do come with references property managers, private landlords, and private owners and landlords, even apartment complex. We have a good reputation and we have a great team. So no question is a dumb question. So just give me a call. This is get started. I love coffee so we can have a conversation over coffee on zoom.
Yes, yes, I ran into Josie at Italian station. So I mean, that’s right there. Great though. Hey, Josie, this was great information, we will make sure that it’s out to our members. And we know that this is such a challenging time on the inventory side. And maybe if you know we’ve got some folks who have some homeowners who are interested in participating, we can just make that full landlord she’s a little bit bigger for you all to be able to reach him to.
Awesome. Thank you so much him and everyone have a blessed one.
Craig’s did a good job Josie.
MacKenzie Rathbun 35:12
Thanks for listening to this episode are far louder, find more resources at faarmembers.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai