Thank you to all of you who have reached out to ask how Alliance Housing is weathering the effects of the COVID-19 virus. The short answer is “we’re doing business nearly as normal.” Turns out it’s pretty difficult to fix a toilet or get a furnace running while working virtually. Those of us who are more office-based are still reporting to work. Property management in our world is highly paper and file intensive. Most of those things don’t exist in digital platforms. Our office is small. We have our own space and are all happy to report to work.
The real heroes are Raymond, Craig, Michael and Bob – our caretakers, maintenance and property management staff. They continue to visit tenant homes and building common space to clean, repair and collect rent. They are aware of and practice good hygiene practices. Everyone’s hands are ready to crumble off with extra hand washing. We all healthy and will not endanger tenant’s health if and when we have signs of being ill.
Our real worries are for our tenants. Forty three percent of our tenants work – primarily parttime and low wage hourly ($10-$15) jobs. Others receive social security, disability or some other sort of rent support. They will be less affected. We’re assessing the damage but know many of them have already been laid off or lost hours. We’ve always been in the business of accepting late rent payments and negotiating payment plans. Now will be no different. It just may be delayed a bit longer. Worst case scenario, if 100% of working tenants paid no rent, it amounts to about $25,000 per month. Fortunately, we can weather that for a few months.
If you want to help, we are contemplating a fund that could eventually forgive $1 of rent for each $1 of rent paid. We think this will help immensely because families will be so far behind if they are out of work for 2 or more months, it will be nearly impossible for them ever to catch up. They simply don’t earn sufficient income to ever get ahead. As foundation funds are made available or additional gifts are received from donors through June, we’ll seed and create the fund.
As always, if you have other questions or suggestions, please call or email me at 612-879-7633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.