Ready to Rent is an organization that provides housing education and related services to unstably housed and homeless families – including young people leaving foster care.
One aspect of improving housing outcomes for youth transitioning from care to adulthood is helping them prepare to navigate the housing market for the first time. Vancouver Foundation supported Ready to Rent to develop a course that helps youth develop skills, confidence and knowledge as they prepare to find, rent and keep their own place.
“Education is transformative”, says Kristi Fairholm Mader, Co-Executive Director. “We’ve seen tremendous uptake over the past two years, which has also provided lots of new learning. More than 40 courses for vulnerable youth were offered this year in the Lower Mainland and South Island. Not only are we being contacted by youth and housing organizations, we’re getting calls from landlords looking to verify young people who’ve taken the course, and from young people who want to touch base with questions as they navigate their own housing searches”.
To support expansion of the program, Ready to Rent has developed a four day train-the-trainer program, enabling cohorts of youth housing workers to deliver the core course themselves, as well as other courses that Ready to Rent offers.
Building trust between young tenants and landlords
Ready to Rent is a great way for young people to build credibility with private landlords, who are willing to rent to youth, but would like some way to verify that they’ve done some preparation. Ready to Rent’s impact measurement report, conducted this fall learned that 66% of course graduates have used the certificate in their housing search, and 70% said it helped them gain their housing.
Johnny, a recent participant, stated, “I thought I knew what I was doing before I did the course. But it was really helpful to learn more about my tenancy rights, how to be prepared when applying for housing, and ways to communicate and look after my place. Here’s a tip: don’t put a rice cooker under your kitchen cabinets as it can create rot. I never thought of that before taking the Ready to Rent course!”
Some young people may have parents or family members to vouch for them or provide advice, but I don’t. I need other ways to show I can be trusted, and ready to rent my own place. - Joanne
Joanne, recently certified, said “I turned 19 and lost my foster home and social worker. Some young people may have parents or family members to vouch for them or provide advice, but I don’t. I need other ways to show I can be trusted, and ready to rent my own place. By completing Ready to Rent certificate course, Ready to Rent becomes a reference and a support I can turn to if issues arise.”
Kristi Fairholm Mader says she often asks groups ‘How did you learn to rent?’ “Most people hadn’t thought about it but most reflect that their parents usually helped them find that first place. If you don’t have parents, or your parents are not familiar with renting in BC, this knowledge is not passed along. Or it is the wrong information. Renting is not innate knowledge, it is a learned skill. We know that tenants who know their rights and can navigate housing issues are more likely to find good housing in the first place, and then stay there.”
Ready to Rent has two upcoming Train the Trainer courses:
- January 26-29 in the Lower Mainland
- February 2-5 in the Capital Regional District
For more information or to register, contact Ready to Rent at 250-370-5100 or visit www.readytorentbc.org