“This is the longest I’ve ever lived in one place” – Quint Tenant
Many of Quint’s tenant families have never lived in a single place for over a year. They continually move due to inadequate housing, poor quality housing or for making bad personal choices. This cycle of transiency has a devastating impact on families and is detrimental to the community. Quint’s Affordable Housing Program works hard to break that cycle of transiency and replace it with stability.
Oski Mācipayin, the Cree word for “new beginnings”
Since opening 18 months ago, 57% of households at Oski Mācipayin have remained in their homes.
Stable housing allows families to redirect their resources, time and energy into improving other areas of their lives and invest in relationships. Families are happier and healthier, and they are in a better position to manage mental health, stress and planning for the future. Children are able to consistently attend the same school and build friendships with peers and adults. Long-term housing facilitates the development of tenant relationships where neighbors support each other in a variety of ways such as ride sharing for groceries and child care.
How to disrupt the cycle of transiency
Quint’s role is to create a space to support and encourage tenants who are making conscious choices towards achieving stable housing. This requires a teamwork approach where a landlord tenant relationship works together, rather than a power over approach that sets up the landlord as an authority figure that views the tenant as a transaction.
Disrupting the cycle takes flexibility and strategic decisions by individual housing providers. Quint’s Affordable Housing Program is adaptable in a variety of ways:
- Ensuring affordable rental rates so that tenants do not need to choose between food and rent;
- Flexible policies on rental payments, including rent payment plans to support tenants in repayment of arrears instead of eviction;
- Communicating the approach and supports within Quint’s housing program that assist people to be successful. Some people need more supportive housing and it’s important to know who Quint’s program is suitable for. Not everyone will thrive in Quint’s housing program.
Choices that tenants make that create stability
There are often four reoccurring themes that we have identified are key in tenant stability:
1) Self-awareness about finances: When a Quint tenant understands where they stand with their own finances and how financial decisions impact their life, they can use the situation to set themselves up for success. For example, if a person knows that they struggle with paying rent then they set up ways to pay automatically. If they know they can pay rent on their own regularly then they ensure that they do.
2) Strong Communication: Tenants that have stability at Quint are often frequent communicators. Tenants do not need to be good communicators, but frequency is important. Staying connected through the good and challenging times of a tenancy is important, even if it is uncomfortable communication.
3) Setting boundaries: This looks different for everyone, however, most stable tenants at Quint have been able to set clear boundaries with guests and families. Boundaries include appropriate visiting hours, monitoring noise levels, and size of gatherings.
4) Willing to lean on others for support: Positive support networks are very important for stable tenants. This could include professional supports as well as neighbours and family that are able to provide help during difficult times.
Working towards successful tenancy can be challenging. It requires open communication, embracing vulnerability, relearning priorities and building relationships. Quint sees, supports and values, these qualities in our tenants. We are proud to have relationships with the people who call our affordable rentals home.