By Judi Moseley, AHTF Co-chair
“A friend tells me that his children’s grandmother is being evicted. She’s in her 70’s, has special needs, and will be homeless if they kick her out. He’s already called the property management company and sent them a follow up letter. What else can he do?”
Most people hear of an eviction action and immediately think that the person being evicted hasn’t paid their rent. In this case that was not true, rent was current. But the tenant had violated a term in the lease that said no long-term guests were allowed unless they are added to the lease. She’d allowed her daughter to stay with her for a few months while she was looking for a new home.
Although the violation had been corrected, the property management firm decided to proceed with the eviction, citing a history of similar violations. Unfortunately, in 2020—when the Affordable Housing Task Force (AHTF)received this message—a Tenant Landlord Resource Center did not exist, and there was no one trained and available to help intervene and mediate a solution before the landlord felt pushed beyond the limits of the lease and the relationship.
For over two years, the AHTF has been working on ways to increase access to safe, affordable housing in our community. One thing we noticed when individuals shared their stories with us is that many times a solution could have been reached if intervention was available earlier in the process. By the time an eviction notice has been given, often both parties are exasperated and unable to find solutions.
The AHTF is pleased to announce that a new resource for both tenants and landlords will soon be available–the Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center. Thanks to the generosity of the Eau Claire Community Foundation and the Pablo Foundation, JONAH has secured grants that will provide startup funding for this new nonprofit organization.
The EC-TLRC will begin with a new website that will provide information and resources for both tenants and landlords. If you have a question about the terms of a lease, what violates Fair Housing Laws, how to apply for emergency housing assistance, or want to check the dates for upcoming classes or workshops, you’ll find it on the website.
Following on the heels of the website will be volunteer training for individuals who want to learn mediation skills to help tenants and landlords seek early solutions to problems. The EC-TLRC will be partnering with other community agencies to provide Renter 101 courses and Landlord workshops, and they hope to begin housing counseling services when capacity increases.
JONAH is acting as the fiscal agent for the EC-TLRC until the new agency has been able to establish its own nonprofit status, at which time it will be an independent 501(c)(3) agency. If you would like to volunteer for mediation training, if you are interested in being on the board of directors, or if you would like to contribute to the Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center you can contact JONAH, or you can email one of the AHTF Core Team: Paul Savides (firstname.lastname@example.org) Susan Wolfgram (email@example.com) or Judi Moseley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center
202 W. Grand Ave. (Grace Lutheran Church, 2nd Ave entrance)
Eau Claire WI 54701