Mobility counseling provides information and resources to voucher holders to prepare them for a move into a new neighborhood. Most mobility counseling consists of pre-move workshops that: assist the family in improving their credit score and paying off debts, inform voucher holders of tenant responsibilities and ensure that the household is able to save for a security deposit. Families often then receive transition counseling, which provides support in making connections and setting up new networks in their community. Some programs also offer post-move counseling, which can take the form of periodic check-ins with the household, as well as subsequent move counseling if the household decides to move a second time. Counselors may become a liaison between the landlord and tenant and provide ongoing support as families settle into their new neighborhoods.
The Metropolitan Council is a regional governmental agency and planning organization serving the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area. In the spring of 2015, the Met Council’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA) announced plans to implement a regional mobility counseling program modeled off successful programs in the Baltimore and Dallas regions. The program is one of the first in the country to be implemented voluntarily. It was introduced as part of the Met Council’s commitment to fulfill goals of the region’s comprehensive plan, Thrive MSP 2040.
The counseling program includes both pre-move and post-move counseling. Before the move, counselors work with participants to overcome budgeting issues and improve financial literacy. Counselors also equip participants with a “renter portfolio,” which is made up of a credit check, letters of recommendation, information about classes and workshops attended and any other information that would help present the voucher holder as a model tenant.
Post-move counseling provides participants with an ongoing support system, helps families get acquainted with the amenities within their new communities and assists in landlord relations. Families commit to the program (and to living in a low-poverty area) for two years, but are able to receive ongoing support as needed. The approach is holistic and individualized, addressing participant-specific needs and helping families set and reach their goals.
For More Info:
Jennifer Keogh, Metropolitan Council (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
Email: [email protected]