Rodney Schuster, executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo has been accustomed to helping people with emergency rent assistance for nine years. Now, thanks to a two-year, $41,765 grant from the Toledo Community Foundation and matching funds from the diocese, Catholic Charities is going to help renters and landlords avoid such crises.
Catholic Charities’ new Tenant Readiness program intends to decrease evictions in Lucas County while the agency works with tenants and landlords throughout lease terms.
Catholic Charities works to give “not just a handout but a hand up, treating people with dignity and respect,” Executive Director Rodney Schuster, and “this new program focuses on that to a T.”
In 2012, Catholic Charities helped 145 clients with government funding for emergency housing assistance, but it received 1,085 calls.
At a news conference Wednesday, Mr. Schuster and Brian Rome, who will coordinate the program, said Tenant Readiness will provide financial education before leases are signed, helping would-be renters’ awareness of expenses and continued obligations, while landlords should have better relationships with tenants.
Mr. Rome said the program has three objectives: “promoting the message of productive living” by raising knowledge of how to prevent financial emergencies before problems arise; “partnering with landlords to bridge that communications gap between them and their tenants” while Catholic Charities also builds a network of landlords, and “working one-on-one with tenants … for the duration of their lease” so tenants can have the resources to avoid eviction.
“About 71 percent of the people that came to us for the first month’s rent did not have enough resources. They were at risk for eviction,” Mr. Rome said.
With the financial education workshop and a Tenant Readiness certification card from Catholic Charities, both tenants and landlords can be more assured of housing stability.
Lucas County landlords can learn more at orientation sessions presented by Catholic Charities on Aug. 16 at the diocese’s Catholic Center, 1933 Spielbusch Ave. Programs start at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. To register, contact Mr. Rome at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 419-244-6711, ext. 222.