by Doreen Bushashia
Throughout this time in our history, one of the many lessons we’re learning is that it’s hard to be alone. And another lesson (which many of us have already known), is that our vulnerable populations, including those older generations or those with underlying medical conditions, can quickly become even more vulnerable in times of crisis.
For property management firms, providing housing for its residents involves much more than building bricks and mortar. Property management is a people business and providing services that respond to the needs of its residents while also offering a connection to the larger community in which they reside are essential amenities.
Whether implementing an internal resident services program or outsourcing these services to an organization with experience in meeting these specialized needs, the goal should be to promote successful tenancies for residents by linking them to the supportive services they may need to assist with lease compliance, benefit well-being, and support aging-at-home. Additional programming that enriches residents’ quality of life and fosters community-building is also vital.
To achieve this, collaboration and partnerships with community-based providers are fundamental to being a good neighbor and connecting residents to local resources and services. Specific steps worth incorporating include: transition supports from homelessness to housing; follow-up to housing incident reports and lease education; connections to community resources; uniform and timely responses to requests for reasonable modifications and accommodations; on-site enrichment programs and community partnerships that support education, job-training, and foster socialization; and front-end communication from the home environment to health care teams for proactive intervention.
Through a successful resident services program implementation, a property management firm can assist elders and adults with disabilities to remain at home and in the community. Service referrals coordinated typically include personal care, housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication cueing, transportation coordination, comprehensive case management, behavioral health supports, and wellness nursing visits.
Additionally, affiliated long term support services can be a crucial component to a resident services program. Property management firms that have long embraced and incorporated a well-established resident services program as part of their organization’s leadership and team approach to successful property management via on-site human services professionals understand the added value, particularly at this time. Culturally competent case management, enhanced wellness programming via registered nurses, and caregiver staff who are reflective of the communities in which they serve are other important considerations. These individuals can ensure attention to health-related social needs, focus on social determinants of health, provide a unique home visit model with housing expertise, coordinate wrap-around services and life skills support, offer resident-centered problem-solving to address barriers, provide housing placement, transition, and tenancy support, and participate in case conferences with healthcare teams. Resident services programs can also be specialized to support specific populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, and formerly homeless individuals and families.
Property management firms want their properties filled with residents that comply with the terms of their lease. By incorporating a range of thoughtful resident services, resident housing stability can be achieved, and so can better life outcomes for some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Doreen Bushashia is president of Peabody Resident Services, a part of the Peabody Companies.