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New Homes for New Refugees: A Template for Creating a Welcoming Landlord Network in your Community

With recent shifts in federal policy, an almost seven fold increase in the ceiling on refugee admissions to the United States is expected from FY 2020 to FY 2022. For welcoming communities across America, accommodating this increase in refugees presents both an exciting opportunity and a formidable challenge. A significant part of meeting this challenge will be finding safe and affordable housing for new arrivals in the coming years. In April 2021, an initiative entitled “Renting to Refugees in Allegheny County” was launched in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The goal of this ongoing initiative is to recruit local landlords to partner with resettlement agencies to rent housing to their refugee clients. The first “Renting to Refugees” virtual session was hosted in May 2021 to educate landlords about the refugee resettlement process and recruit them to help house refugees in Pittsburgh. Over 140 local landlords registered to participate in the first online session, around 70 attended, and 40 have signed up as official contacts of Pittsburgh’s refugee resettlement agencies to date.

This webinar brought together key organizers of Pittsburgh’s “Renting to Refugees” initiative to discuss how they executed the effort and how you can potentially implement a similar strategy in your own community. Topics of discussion included:

  • Convening cross-sector stakeholders to increase the reach of your initiative;
  • Maximizing the effectiveness of outreach to landlords in your community;
  • Writing an effective script for a landlord engagement session;
  • Preparing for a seamless landlord engagement session online;
  • Registering landlords as partners to house refugees; and
  • Creating helpful informational resources as a part of outreach to landlords