As many of our readers are well aware, Raising the Roof has a strong focus on preventative solutions to homelessness. Many of our initiatives reflect this push towards a preventative rather than reactive approach to addressing homelessness, including: The Upstream Project Canada and Host Homes.
With the Homelessness Prevention Framework developed by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, Raising the Roof was able to identify a new area to focus its preventative efforts: eviction prevention.
What is eviction prevention?
Eviction prevention has been difficult to define as many organizations have differing ideas and approaches to the issue. In the early stages of research, we started with a definition of eviction prevention as ‘all efforts used to keep a tenant from being forced to move out of their rental home.’ The reality is that a single tenant can face multiple evictions due to issues such as a temporary financial crisis, mental and/or physical health, and job insecurity. Despite our knowledge of the issue, efforts to prevent eviction tend to take place after the fact. To minimize a tenant’s chances of facing eviction, we need to provide them with supports even before they move into a rental unit.
Primary forms of eviction prevention
In alignment with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness’ typology of homelessness prevention, we applied their definition of primary homelessness prevention to primary eviction prevention as initiatives geared to individuals who have not yet experienced an eviction. The rest of this blog post will explore various types of primary eviction prevention initiatives.
A new method to reduce evictions in Canada is through tenant education which can improve the renter’s experience by ensuring that tenants are aware of their rights. It also teaches them how to appropriately respond to issues as they arise. RentSmart is a tenant and landlord education program first implemented in British Columbia; similar programs have since been introduced in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. The goal is to train, educate, and support tenants and landlords in order to build strong communities, increase housing stability, and prevent homelessness. By the end of the program, renters and landlords can obtain a certificate to appear more responsible and trustworthy.
Raising the Roof’s Latest Work
There is still much to be learned and understood about Eviction Prevention. At Raising the Roof, we are currently doing our research on what’s currently being done in this area to develop a new initiative. Stay tuned to learn more about this upcoming initiative!
Author: Elizabeth Coulas