JONAH Article: Chelsea Hebert

Eau Claire Tenant-Landlord Resource (ECTLRC) Center Program Coordinator

~By Susan Wolfgram, Co-Director ECTLRC

“Coming out of college, I worked full time at an animal shelter and held down four
other part-time jobs, everything from driving Lyft to pet-sitting…I did everything I
could and still struggled to pay my rent…I was an adult, a college graduate,
working full-time, and could not afford an apartment on my own…I was fortunate
to have friends and family I could move in with…I have experienced housing insecurity”.

The JONAH Affordable Housing Task Force Core Team who also serve as Co-
Directors of the Eau Claire Tenant-Landlord Resource Center: Susan Wolfgram,
Judi Moseley, and Paul Savides, are excited to introduce our newly hired Program
Coordinator, Chelsea Hebert.

I asked Chelsea three broad questions about her interest in nonprofit work,
housing, and tenant-landlord relationships.

What motivated you to apply for this position?
I chose to apply to be a force for good, to pay forward the privilege I have. I now
am in a more stable situation and am in a position to serve. Having worked at an
animal shelter and in after school programming, I saw how all the issues we were
trying to address at face value were backed up by much larger concerns like
income, food, and housing insecurity. Finding affordable housing is difficult on its
own, and the struggle is amplified when people are working jobs that can only
narrowly cover rent, childcare, groceries, transportation, etc. I believe that
housing is a human right, and the opportunity to help open doors and keep them
open for people was one I couldn’t pass up.

Have you experienced housing insecurity?
Yes. I have been fortunate to have friends and family willing and able to help me
when I have had trouble keeping myself afloat. These experiences showed me in no
uncertain terms how easily someone can find themselves without housing. For a
few years, I was doing gig work most days after my job to get rent money and still
barely managed to pay my roommates on time. I had to ask for help with bills repeatedly and was constantly overwhelmed from trying to make it up the next paycheck without falling apart.

What is your vision for making an impact in our community?
My hope in this position is to guide the community to better understand all sides of
the housing issues we’re facing, working from a place of empathy for both the
people seeking homes and for those providing them. From listening to a frustrated
tenant, hearing them out and empowering them to know their rights, to doing the
same for a landlord. I look forward to our being a resource hub, providing
education and training, and also suggesting mediation where appropriate to find a
solution that will not end in an eviction process. Evictions hurt all of us.

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