housing challenges and realities
Housing is very challenging, and most of our families do not love their first new homes.
Please remember that when we look for housing, we are doing so with very tight funding. We are also asking landlords to rent to people who may not yet be in the country, who have no rental history, and who have no as-yet demonstrated source of earned income. As you might imagine, this keeps our pool of eligible landlords fairly small. We value the relationships we do have in this area of our work, and ask that you kindly respect the constraints within which we operate. If you have a housing concern, please let your Volunteer Coordinator know. However, there are many advantages to renting to incoming refugees, such as having tenants who have the support of an organization. WRS is available to help mediate relationships between landlords and refugee tenants, provide orientation, and should problems arise to help address these in the refugee's language. If you would like to share information about World Relief Sacramento with an apartment manager or owner, please refer to our Apartment Manager Brochure.
Families won’t sign a lease if they don’t like their home.
In the past, we have attempted to set up an apartment or house for a family ahead of time, as per federal program requirements, only to have families sometimes arrive and refuse to live there. This has resulted in lost money for the family, confusion and disruption to their initial adjustment process, and problems for World Relief too – particularly if the home has already been outfitted with furniture that we now have no place to store. With such limited availability, as well as the unrealistic expectation that we find an apartment, host family or hotel room for that many individuals, World Relief generally finds one housing option and does everything possible to have that available upon arrival.
If the viable housing has been shown and the family has refused to accept their housing, World Relief asks the family to sign a housing refusal form stating that deliberate efforts were made on behalf of World Relief to ensure the family had adequate housing, and that because that option was denied, World Relief is no longer responsible for finding a place for the family to live. We then leave the family’s housing up to the family and/or their relatives. Though this may seem irresponsible on our part, World Reliefs’ objective is to house a family and connect them to services, in a short period of 90 days – and being particular about housing options severely delays our ability to serve families well in that timeframe. There are many things families wish for that are unrealistic in terms of housing, and we unfortunately cannot accommodate much beyond what should be expected in terms of safety and livability standards.
Repairs can take time. We frequently encounter situations where landlords are not as quick to fix things as we would like them to be. If you have any questions or concerns about the way World Relief is handling communication with your family’s landlord, please reach out to your Volunteer Coordinator.