Since launching this month, the 200 Doors campaign has found apartments for more than 100 people able to pay market-value rent, Blue Door CEO says
Two weeks in, Blue Door’s campaign to get at least 200 local landlords to agree to rent apartments to individuals struggling with homelessness is already more than halfway to reaching its goal.
The 200 doors campaign kicked off at the beginning of December with the intention of housing as many people as possible before March 31. Nine different agencies are participating in the project, trying to convince landlords in an already tight rental market to take a chance on a tenant who has had some hard luck.
While 100 people have found new homes to date, York Region’s Blue Door CEO, Michael Braithwaite, said it’s not an easy task.
“It can be a struggle to engage landlords and convince them to give the idea a second thought and be a community champion. But we knew going in that this was going to be a tough sell, said Braithwaite.
“For many landlords, this is a business. So (it’s a hard decision) when they are faced with choosing between renting to someone with a perfect credit score or giving a little leeway to someone who might be fleeing a violent situation and doesn’t have a credit score or even identification.”
Braithwaite said it’s important to focus on the small victories as they come because they add up over time. He has no doubt that the campaign will exceed its stated goal of finding 200 apartments well before the campaign comes to an end this spring.
“I 100 per cent believe that, and I believe we will have a number of new landlords on board who will be champions for our cause,” he said.
The campaign aims to house individuals who are ready to live independently and pay market rent for an apartment but might be currently living in emergency housing or unsafe conditions.
“We are not asking for breaks on rent,” he said. “We are just asking for a little faith that these individuals with the supports of the agencies helping them will be ideal tenants. And if there are any challenges, we are there to meet them.”
The 200 Door Campaign is an initiative of the Landlord Engagement Program comprised of Blue Door Support Services, Yellow Brick House, Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold, Inn from the Cold, 360°kids, Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region, Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe, LOFT Community Services, and The Salvation Army.
Alan S. Hale