Pro Bono News
Successful Renters Program Introduces Rights, Responsibilities of Renting (WV)
Sunday, May 19, 2019
- The Journal
Successful Renters Program Introduces Rights, Responsibilities of Renting
"HARPERS FERRY — As students finished up a session of the Successful Renters Program on Thursday morning, they thought about some of the toughest issues they tackled.
Harpers Ferry Job Corps presented this rendition of the Successful Renters Program as a Career Transition Readiness Workshop, with students meeting Thursday morning to finish up the six-hour training. Members of Catholic Charities, Telamon Corporation and Legal Aid of West Virginia supplied the instruction.
One important issue, students said, involved the careful reading of a lease.
“There’s so much that goes into it,” said William Menendez Rivera, of Triangle, Virginia. “Something could mean something (other than what you think), and I would rather have a professional go over it with me.”
Menendez Rivera noted that he is the vice president of the Student Government Association of Harpers Ferry Job Corps.
Other students also cited the importance of looking closely at a lease, and consulting others if needed.
“Anything that’s hidden between the words that you don’t understand, you want to talk to someone about,” added Jose Ramos, of El Centro, California.
Harpers Ferry Job Corps is one of multiple sites where the Successful Renters Program is offered.
The Eastern Panhandle Successful Renters Program, according to literature from the Health and Human Services Collaborative, is sponsored by the Housing Work Group — a subcommittee of the Health and Human Services Collaborative. The program started in 2014, the literature explains, “out of concern for the high eviction rate — 89 cases a week in just one Magistrate Court — and resulting housing insecurity for families in the Eastern Panhandle.”
Kat Hagedorn, case manager for Catholic Charities of West Virginia, said local realtor agencies assist the members of Catholic Charities, Telamon Corporation and Legal Aid of West Virginia in conducting the program, which is presented at various locations throughout Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.
“We partner with other social service agencies to present the course to their clients,” she said.
The six-hour Successful Renters Program includes a look at the Fair Housing and Truth in Lending acts. It also explores “legal rights and responsibilities of landlord and tenants,” including how to avoid eviction and requesting the return of a security deposit. Finally, it tackles financial issues, including budgeting, savings and credit. Hagedorn said grants, mostly from local funders, provide primary financing sources for the program..."