RentSmart Ontario has a vision of community well-being through housing education and support.
Our intended impact is to deliver a high quality educational experience that is relevant and practical, increase the number and locations of Ready to Rent courses offered each year, and increase participants knowledge, skills and confidence to find and maintain appropriate housing.
We measure our impact in a number of ways:
After living on-reserve for 30 years, Donna’s marriage ended and she was forced to find housing off reserve. Her life was in chaos dealing with alcohol, abuse and other issues that resulted in her being unable to find appropriate housing and being separated from her child.
After 18 months of living in a motor-home without running water or electricity, Donna asked M’akola Housing what she needed to do to secure housing, and they recommended Ready to Rent.
She took the course, learning what she needed to know when she moved off reserve. She developed a portfolio to take with her when she applied for housing – reference letters, credit check and, of course, her Ready to Rent Graduation Certificate. She presented this information to a prospective landlord who offered her an apartment.
Best of all, several months later M’akola Housing offered her 2-bedroom accommodation and she was reunited with her child.
Jennifer Smith (a pseudonym) was referred to Ready to Rent BC by the Outreach Program at the YMCA. Jennifer was 20 years old and had been homeless for three years. At the time she took the Ready to Rent program she was 6 months pregnant and living with her family (partner and two dogs) in one room in what she describes as, “one of the worst flop houses in the city.”
As part of her Ready to Rent course, Jennifer learned new tools to help find and keep housing. She learned communications skills, her rights and responsibilities as a tenant and how to present herself to a landlord. She also defined some short and long term goals and committed to a personal contract outlining exactly what she wanted to accomplish during the six week program. One thing she wrote was to find a place and stay put for an entire year.
Ready to Rent caught up with Jennifer recently and her story is one of life-changing success. Jennifer found a place just before she finished the course and the family has remained in the rental home for well over a year. Jennifer, now a busy mom has no plans to move until they can afford to buy their own place.
“In my contract, my biggest dream was to be in the same house for a while. Now I am on really good terms with the landlady. She’s even thinking of giving us a rent-to-own situation.”