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The MMHA and United Way Rental Connections Program

United Way and The Maryland Multi-Housing Association share a mission of commitment to our communities. In every county in central Maryland—in the cities, in the suburbs, in rural areas—people are homeless or at risk of becoming so.

Families are the fast-growing homeless population. As an MMHA member, you can help provide housing to families at risk of losing their homes through the Rental Connections Program, which prevents homelessness and minimizes the amount of time that homeless families remain in public shelters.

Rental Connections serves only families enrolled in United Way Family Stability Programs, which provide:

  • Comprehensive support programs tailored to each family’s unique needs
  • Intensive case management (licensed social worker committed to each family)
  • Budgeting and financial planning education
  • Coaching on productive tenant/landlord relationships

“Rachuba Management, Inc. is proud to partner with United Way of Central Maryland and The Maryland Multi-Housing Association (MMHA) to help address the problem of homelessness in Baltimore. Through this partnership, we are able to help families work towards self-sufficiency. The level of support we’ve received from both United Way and The MMHA have enabled us to seamlessly incorporate this program into our operations.” – Theresa Leatherbury, President

The Need is Great

There are as many reasons for helping to provide stable, safe housing as there are risk factors for losing it:

  • poor credit records, sometimes even just a single incident
  • a limited supply of affordable housing
  • long waiting periods of at least seven years or closed opportunities for Section 8 housing
  • a past eviction
  • a criminal record—even a misdemeanor charge
  • inability to pay security deposits or advance rent
  • and more

In central Maryland, one in three families can’t afford the state’s high cost of living and are often just one unforeseen expense away from homelessness.

Unexpected costs like a major car repair or a medical emergency can rapidly take those who live paycheck to paycheck to homelessness.

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“The multi-housing industry is in a unique position to strengthen the very fabric of the Baltimore metropolitan area—its families.  Without the worry of finding and maintaining stable, safe, affordable housing, the families we serve through the MMHA/United Way Rental Connections Program can concentrate on building the skills for long-term stability.” – Adam Skolnik, CPM, Executive Director, The Maryland Multi-Housing Association

Current MMHA/United Way Rental Connections Locations (click image to enlarge)

MMHA Housing map

How Rental Connections Helps Those in Need

With a place to call home, families can begin to rebuild and strengthen their lives. Stable housing situations mean that kids don’t face disruptive school transfers that can affect their grades and put them at risk for dropping out. By freeing them from the worry and stress about where they’ll sleep each night, Rental Connections helps keep kids in school and helps families get back on the path to independence and a better life.

Since January 2015, 20 families have been housed by eight MMHA member properties in Baltimore City, and Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties, and the retention rate has been exceptional. Rental Connections has the capacity to serve a total of 144 families.

Rental Connections property managers and landlords may offer assistance such as reduced rent or waived background checks or security deposits.

MMHA Member Benefits

MMHA members participating in the Rental Connections program benefit from:

  • Pre-screened tenants who are ready to succeed in rental housing
  • 24/7 non-maintenance helpline
  • Guaranteed response to landlord concerns within two business days
  • Collaboration with family case manager who works closely with property manager/landlord to assess progress
  • Rental Connections Regional Housing Risk Fund
  • Annual recognition event acknowledging successful partnerships and best practice models

Throughout the country, landlord partnerships have been successful in moving those experiencing homelessness out of shelters and off the streets and into negotiated affordable housing.

Rental Connections Advisory Committee

Purpose: To provide consultation and expertise to staff participating in the MMHA/United Way Rental Connections Program.

Members

  • Chair: Ben Frederick III, Broker, Ben Frederick Realty
  • Syeetah Hampton-El, Esq., Director of Government Affairs, MMHA
  • Theresa Leatherbury, President, Rachuba Management, Inc.
  • Jamie Lubliner, Vice-President, Finance, Hendersen-Webb, Inc.
  • Len Parrish, Director, Harford County Housing and Community Development
  • Tommy Tompsett, Associate Attorney, Harris Jones & Malone, LLC

Participate

Family Stability starts with a stable home, and Rental Connections currently has the resources to bring that dream to 144 families in central Maryland. No one can create change alone. We need your help to grow this successful program so that we can serve more families who are about to lose their homes or who are trying to cope with living in public shelters.

We will respond to you within 48 hours of your application.
Begin the application »

Contact

For more information on the Rental Connections program, contact:

United Way of Central Maryland
Windy Deese
Director, Housing and Employment Partnerships
windy.deese@uwcm.org
410 895 1547
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 304
Baltimore, MD 21230

The Maryland Multi-Housing Association, Inc.
Adam Skolnik
Executive Director
askolnik@mmhaonline.org
410-413-1544
11155 Dolfield Boulevard, Suite 200
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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