HNN and Mary’s Place working together to help families experiencing homelessness

HNN Associates, a property management company based in Bellevue, has partnered with Mary's Place, to help make a difference in Seattle and King County. HNN is part of an organization that develops, constructs, owns, and manages multifamily housing with a primary focus on affordable housing in the Puget Sound area. “The vast majority of households that we rent to have incomes less than 50 percent of area median,” said Philip Nored, President, HNN Associates, in a recent interview. “We focus our growth around those areas of need.”

HNN’s partnership with Mary's Place started in Fall 2017 as a company-wide desire to expand their philanthropic partnerships related to homelessness. Mary’s Place was the perfect fit. The nonprofit addresses the basic needs of the community’s most vulnerable residents: women, children and families experiencing homelessness, and works to place them back into permanent housing as quickly as possible.

“We partner with landlords to provide access to affordable apartment homes for our families and ensure their tenancy is successful,” said Ashley Kenny, a Mary's Place Housing Manager. “We met with the wonderful team at HNN to talk about the HNN communities and the barriers to housing facing Mary’s Place families. We are so grateful for this partnership.”

Mary’s Place worked with HNN to create a customized plan that outlines how they will work together and allocates responsibilities—including those of the residents. The plan includes screening criteria, streamlined application process, tax credit paperwork, identifying apartment homes, the move-in process, and stabilizing services to assist residents in the months following move-in.

“Mary's Place is doing a lot of the heavy lifting with placing their client families,” said Alison Dean, HNN’s Director of Operations & Strategy. “It feels great to be working with them to empower these families to take back their lives. Mary’s Place shows clients where apartment homes are related to their needs, helps them through the phases of application, and really communicates with our team openly throughout all stages.”

The HNN and Mary’s Place teams have bi-weekly calls to identifying challenges, update processes, and adjust workflow for smoother outcomes. At the community level, if an issue comes up it is escalated to resident relations, so HNN and Mary’s Place teams can work through it together.

“New residents can still need some stabilizing the first several months,” said Dean. “They may need some financial assistance to help through the transition. We work together with Mary’s Place to identify the needs and connect residents with resources to ensure success, address issues, and resolve challenges before they become a bigger problem.”

Part of the HNN mission is to provide affordable housing in a caring and compassionate way. This now includes an initiative that offers staff 16 hours of volunteer time-off (VTO) to volunteer with Mary's Place or other community organizations.

“Some of our staff volunteer with Mary’s Place and our future goal is to hire Mary’s Place guests to be facility coordinators, community managers, maintenance workers, and more,” said Nored. “We see our involvement with Mary’s Place as an ever-evolving positive relationship.”

Dean says HNN’s work with Mary’s Place has given everyone at HNN a deeper level of understanding and commitment to their mission, seeing first-hand “the power of families getting those keys.”

Through their partnership with Mary’s Place, HNN has helped house 106 clients—most with children—since September 2017. Mary’s Place wants to partner with landlords to provide access to affordable housing for area families and ensure their residency is successful. This includes strategies for reducing the risks in order to maximize the success of a community. Partnerships like the one between HNN and Mary’s Place gives clients with housing barriers such as evictions, poor credit, or low income, a second chance at housing.

“We talk a lot about fostering an attitude of gratitude and we've certainly worked hard to be where we are, but we feel an obligation as an affordable housing provider to be part of the solution when it comes to homelessness,” said Nored. “Our partnership with Mary’s Place is a big part of our success delivering on that goal.”

Mary’s Place is looking for new landlord partners to help meet the need of local families experiencing a housing crisis. Email ashley@marysplaceseattle.org for more information.