Trahan Hosts Livestream with Tips
By Amy Sokolow Boston Herald – Lowell Sun 8/9/21
For renters worried about making ends meet and having trouble making rent payments, or whose landlord has said they’re seeking an eviction for other reasons, housing advocates in Massachusetts have a few tips to help.
“ If ( tenants) get a notice to quit, they have to understand that it is just the ﬁrst step in a very long process,” said Steve Meacham, coordinator of organizing for City Life/ Vida Urbana, a grassroots community organization in Boston.
He emphasized that tenants should not move if they receive that ﬁrst communication. “ Without any opposition, the eviction process goes incredibly quickly, like a matter of weeks,” he said. “ If you raise defenses … you can ﬁght off that eviction at least long enough to negotiate some alternatives.”
Another tip, shared with renters during a livestream hosted by U. S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D 3rd., of Lowell, on Friday, is to seek help — even if you’re not sure you qualify. “ Now more than ever, we’re working with people that have never even thought about asking for help before,” said Lindsey Richmond from Resources for Communities and People.
“ If you ﬁnd yourself in a situation where you think you might be late on your next month’s mortgage or even rent, you reach out and see what kind of assistance you may qualify for.”
Another guest at Trahan’s talk, Connie Martin of Community Teamwork, emphasized the importance of having a complete application for rental assistance, which entails “carefully reading all the questions, getting all the documentation uploaded,” she said, She advised that renters talk with their landlords so they know to expect the application.
Finally, Meacham emphasized that each side has a legitimate case to win. “A tenant should recognize that their relationship with their landlord is a business relationship,” he said. “In every business relationship, each side has strengths and weaknesses, each side has tools that they can use to try to win.”
The Family Self- Sufficiency Program (FSS) is designed to help families receiving rental assistance to become self-supporting. This is a voluntary program and is open to all families receiving a housing subsidy such as Section 8. Community Teamwork’s Family Self-Sufficiency program has empowered many graduates to achieve their goals and Tonya is one such successful graduate.
Tonya graduated FSS on December 31, 2018 with $3109 in escrow. Over the years she took an additional $5482 in interim disbursements to pay for her college tuition, thereby totaling $8591 in FSS escrow disbursements. Tonya earned her associate’s degree in Nursing from Laboure College on December 17, 2018, and was hired as a full time Registered Nurse on December 2, 2018. Upon graduating FSS, Tonya immediately set herself on the path to asset development by choosing her new goals: Starting a savings account for a down payment on a home, starting a 401K at her new job, taking a first time home owner’s class, and improving her credit.
Tonya credits here success with the help and guidance she received from the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
Jasmine Delgado, 20, first became homeless at age 9 when she spent five months at a shelter in Connecticut with her mother. In 2013, Jasmine moved in with her father when her mother left for Lowell. When her father told her he needed to find somewhere else to stay because he could no longer pay rent, Jasmine called her mother. Jasmine and her three year-old daughter, Jenadie, moved to Lowell last February to stay with her mother in a single room. This single mother had just returned to Massachusetts from Connecticut, determined to create a better life for herself and her daughter.
Jasmine managed to get her GED on August 3, 2017 and earned the Student of the Year Award upon graduation. She discovered Community Teamwork’s YouthBuild Program and soon became part of a new emerging Culinary Training program. Through this program, Jasmine has helped to grow Community Teamwork’s Farmers’ Market and has become a tremendous resource to the culinary instructor. Jasmine’s leadership and professional skills have grown tremendously. She has become an invaluable part of the culinary program. Jasmine helps to bridge the gap between the instructor and the students in the program. As our culinary intern, she has supported other students through tutoring, encouraging their participation, and as a role model for professional growth. She received her OSHA 10, NCCER, SERVSAFE and allergen training and
is now a part of the ACF (Accredited Culinary Federation) curriculum and will be receiving an accredited certificate for culinary. She is currently working as an intern with Two Chefs Catering and will be starting another internship with Cobblestones Restaurant in the near future. In addition, Jasmine was chosen the 2018 YouthBuild AmeriCorps Spirit of Service Member of the Year.
Though she has overcome many obstacles from a young age, Jasmine was afraid that she could once again find herself in a shelter. “I’m scared because they tell me I can be placed anywhere in Massachusetts,” she said. “That’s the thing that worries me because my daughter has been going to the same school for a year and I want her to stay at the same school and I don’t want to change things. I want her to have that stability.”
With the help of Community Teamwork, Jasmine was able to get her first apartment this past July and was thrilled to celebrate her daughter’s 4th birthday in their very own home! With first-hand knowledge of being homeless and living in a shelter, she took part in panels with other homeless youth during a Youth Homelessness Summit hosted by Community Teamwork this past June. The day-long event was part of CTI’s new concerted effort to tackle this issue.
Jasmine has had her daughter enrolled at the Parker Avenue site since June of 2017. While attending the program, Jasmine has
been able to receive transportation services through the school. Jasmine’s daughter was enrolled at the Parker Avenue site because of their transportation needs and where they were living at the time. When the family moved in to their own apartment in June, Jasmine was able to transfer her daughter to a new center while also keeping her transportation. This was very important to Jasmine as she has no other means of transportation. Now at the Houlares Center, Jasmine’s daughter is transported to and from school. With her daughter being at school every day, Jasmine is able to continue her work in both of her internships.
Jasmine exemplifies the ideals of hard work, perseverance, commitment and follow through. She has learned the personal benefit of these qualities and has adopted them into the very fabric of her life. Jasmine stands out as a leader and role model among her peers but it is her strength and her positive spirit that shine through.
CommCET (Community Connections to Employment and Training) is breaking down financial barriers for over 100 disadvantaged families in the Merrimack Valley through an innovative approach that combines job training, education, housing, childcare, case management and follow-up services. This comprehensive strategy ensures greater long-term success for families that were previously homeless or are currently at risk of homelessness.
“Our workforce development efforts combined with permanent housing and essential family supports equip families with tools to maintain long-term stability,” says JoAnn Howell, Community Teamwork’s CommCET Director. “It isn’t about short-term solutions. CommCET helps the client establish a long-term approach by building employment skills; accessing job apprenticeships, training and employment; and preparing for self-sufficiency economically, financially and mentally. Our program’s aim is to successfully create life changing, long-term solutions. I am excited to be part of these changes.”
To date, CommCET has assisted 67 participants to become employed. At the heart of this success are partnerships with the Lowell Career Center, surrounding vocational technical high schools and area employers. Twenty seven out of 33 participants are currently employed after acquiring new workforce skills at various regional vocational technical schools by training for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certifications, medical administration, business, electronics, welding, and office administration.
Profiles of success:
Jocelyn, a single mother, and her two children lived at the Best Western hotel in Chelmsford, when their family first entered the CommCET program. To accommodate her and other homeless families with children temporarily living at the hotel, staff created a transportation route that drives the children to their childcare programs, allowing the parents to pursue employment training and jobs. In Jocelyn’s case, she was able to confidently attend job interviews, knowing her children were safe and being educated in Community Teamwork’s childcare program. This and other critical case management supports led her obtaining full time employment at Lowell’s Woodbriar Nursing Facility.
Tiffany, who successfully attended the Lowell Career Center’s back-to-work program, struggled to find sufficient employment. Fortunately, thanks to her retraining, expansion of marketable skills and dedication, she landed a job with Community Teamwork, working in our Fuel Assistance department.
Housing Consumer Education Center – Financial Assistance / Apartment Search / SMART Tenant Workshops
Are you homeless and need financial assistance to be rehoused? Do you need some help finding an apartment? This workshop will provide a brief overview of services offered by Community Teamwork, discuss eligibility for financial assistance, review housing search, tenancy preservation, eviction prevention, Fair Housing, Tenant Right’s and termination of tenancies.
ONE HOURWORKSHOPS: Monday through Friday 12pm-1pm and Wednesday’s 5pm-6pm
WORKSHOPS LOCATED AT: Community Teamwork, 17 Kirk Street, Lowell MA
The purpose of this workshop is to provide housing education on tenancy, from housing search, maintaining tenancies, Fair Housing, reporting code violations, eviction prevention and exiting a tenancy appropriately. Pre-registration is not required for this workshop. If you have questions about this workshop, call 978-459-0551.
Are you homeless and need financial assistance to be rehoused? Do you need some help finding and apartment?
This ONE HOUR workshop will provide a brief overview of services offered by Community Teamwork, discuss eligibility for financial assistance, review housing search, tenancy preservation, eviction prevention, Fair Housing, Tenant’s Rights and termination of tenancies.
**PRE-REGISTRATION NOT REQUIRED!**
Monday –Friday 12:00pm–1pm and Wednesdays 5pm-6pm
Workshops located at Community Teamwork – 17 Kirk St. Lowell, MA
Questions about this workshop, call 978-459-0551.