Outline of Supporting Immigrant Tenants (SIT) Loan Program
A Program of Community Financial Literacy (CFL)
Supporting Immigrant Tenants has created a no- interest revolving- loan fund from which immigrants can borrow money to pay for a security deposit for renting an apartment in the Greater Portland area. By partnering with Affinity Credit Union the program aims to develop financial literacy among renter and build credit experience. By requiring education on landlord tenant issues the likelihood of the tenant receiving back the deposit at the end of the rental is increased.
- Prospective borrowers will fill out a formal application and be screened by a SIT /CFL team for an approval decision.
- Priority will be given to newly arrived immigrants who depend on General Assistance for rent who must find their own security deposit, but other low income immigrants may be eligible.
- A successful applicant will receive pre- approval so that once an apartment is found, that applicant will know that SIT/CFL will loan them a security deposit up to $1,500 per family.
- The borrower will be required to 1) attend education sessions regarding tenants and landlords rights and responsibilities, and 2) attend a session presenting the details of the loan process: loan applications will be available at this session.. Successful applicants will be willing to work with a SIT volunteer housing coach to ensure that they are aware of how to maintain an apartment in a clean and healthy manner and keep in touch with that volunteer should difficulties arise..
- The Housing Coach will help the applicant fill out a check list and take photos at move- in and move- out apartment times to raise the likelihood of the security deposit being returned by the landlord .
- If feasible the lease will be reviewed by an attorney to check that it is a legal document.
- The security deposit will be sent directly to the landlord with the instruction that it is the tenant’s property.
- When approved, the tenant will open an account with Infinity CU and, when employed, begin the repayment schedule with Infinity Credit Union: the normal plan is 10 months grace period and the loan paid off within the following 12 months. The tenant will continue payment of the loan to its completion regardless of whether the tenant remains eligible for the return of the deposit.
- The housing coach will stay in touch with the tenant she/he is matched with s a support and help with any landlord issues or housing problems.
The volunteer will be available should advocacy be needed but the hope is that this relationship will be one of empowerment with the tenant becoming confident of his/her apartment living skills.
To see a flyer click here SIT Outline of Loan Program