September 16 2020 • Rachel Calderon, Janet de Guehery, Caroline White
Parramore Asset Stabilization Fund, PASF, was formed in 2018 to purchase scattered-site rental properties in Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood, in order to improve housing conditions and preserve long-term affordability in the area. PASF is a collaboration between three strong nonprofit organizations with a focus on housing:
Central Florida Foundation, Florida Community Loan Fund, and New Jersey Community Capital.
One of the unique aspects of PASF is its Client Liaison – a team member who can represent the residents in the community, advocate on their behalf, and connect them to available services and resources in the area that they may not otherwise know about. During COVID-19, as many jobs were lost and money became particularly tight in the Parramore Neighborhood, PASF Client Liaison, Patrice Scott, stepped outside of her usual job description to give her all to the community.
Here are a few words from Patrice about her recent work with PASF residents during COVID-19. And scroll down for another story from PASF resident William.
Working with PASF has been a game changer. It has been nothing short of one adventure after the next since the beginning of my start date with this organization. When I first came onboard, I was informed that I would be working with residents of Parramore with rental assistance, informing them of resources available in the community, engagement in tenant association activities, and anything else that would be beneficial to the tenants.
At first, my work was relegated to just that, offering rental resources for tenants late on their rent and engaging with tenants who were having their units renovated. However, due to the
unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, my work quickly transitioned from assisting with collecting rent to one of a more personal nature – assisting people with staying afloat emotionally and financially. There was not one week that passed that I didn’t lend a listening ear or a shoulder to a scared tenant who was unsure as to what would become of them and their family due to job furloughs, severely reduced hours, and their health due to COVID-19.
I was aware that many of our residents were already part of a vulnerable population, where one missed work week would mean no money for food, no money to pay the utilities, and no money to pay the rent. I had to think outside the box and began offering weekly webinars on how to maintain credit during the pandemic, community resources for food, paying utilities, and job opportunities in the Orlando metro area. In addition to the webinars, I also ramped up offering payment plans for tenants behind on their rent and following up with phone
calls and home visits on applying for rental assistance. The stress level for many of our tenants began to dissipate when they noticed that we were not trying to evict them, but rather trying to help them with their adjustment to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, where financial security was uncertain.
Many of our tenants have expressed gratitude for the constant communication we have had with them during the pandemic and our ability to be understanding on rent payments. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to for work for an organization that puts people and families first.
William moved into his rental home in 2014, before the properties were purchased by PASF. He and his young daughter have seen the changes made by PASF after they bought his and other area rental homes. He is very pleased with the maintenance updates, the well-run management team, and the more patient landlord team.
When we asked William about the impact COVID-19 has had on his personal life, including housing and employment, here is what he said:
“At first, COVID-19 made me shocked and nervous. I was concerned because my family had not been approved for food stamps or any other supplemental benefits. I had so many concerns that were running through my head: How would I make rent? Would I still have my job? What would happen to my young daughter if I got sick? And, many other thoughts.
“I was very appreciative that one of my concerns was taken care of – my rent. Patrice Scott (Client Liaison at PASF) was wonderful at letting me know about applying for unemployment and even helped me with the application process. She and the rest of the property management team never pressured me about making my rent payments when I was furloughed for a month. They kept letting me know to pay what I could during my furlough, and let us know about the different rental assistance programs.
“I always felt comfortable and welcomed when discussing my concerns with Patrice about rental assistance. I am incredibly happy with this new management team and all the help I have received from them.My job called me back, and I have resumed full-time work as a Chef for Kres Chop House in Downtown Orlando.“
Parramore Asset Stabilization Fund would like to thank these partners for their support: JPMorgan Chase Foundation • City of Orlando • OUC • Wells Fargo • SunTrust • Seaside National Bank & Trust • Orlando City Soccer Club • Orlando Magic • BB&T • and other private donors.