Good Samaritan’s Housing Navigator Chandler Rowling will be presenting two sessions at the conference:

Session 1: Creating Solutions- Montana Mediators Take Action on May 18th 1:00-2:30pm
In this session we will learn how communities in Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula use Certified Mediators and the existing system(s) to help landlords and tenants work out conflict. Panelist will consist of representatives from Montana Mediation Association, the Billings Mediation Center, and Good Samaritan Ministries of Helena. The last 30-minutes will be reserved for questions and further discussion.

In Yellowstone County, the Billings Mediation Center (Conflict Resilience Project) and Montana Mediation Association have partnered with Judge Carter and Judge Walker to use the judicial system to help landlords and tenants work out issues.

In 2020, Good Samaritan Ministries in Helena piloted a Housing Navigation program to serve the workforce housing community members in the Lewis and Clark county. This program connects and engages community members, landlords, property managers, and housing partners to housing services and resources. During COVID 19, Good Samaritan has also successfully offered financial assistance with eviction prevention, rental assistance, and mortgage assistance. Good Samaritan continues to serve the most vulnerable and homeless population.

Speakers
Session 2: Housing Navigation and Community Engagement on May 19th 11-12pm:
This panel session will consist of three housing navigators who work separately in Kalispell, Butte, and Helena. The panelists will begin by briefly explaining what each of them do for their organization and out in the community to provide an understanding what a housing navigator can do because this role can look different across Montana. Then they will be asked a series of questions that will give insight to participants about what they are seeing on the ground with landlords, the housing market, and housing related services.

In this session, participants will receive information based on those experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Two of the navigators serve the population that is categorized as very to extremely low-income and the other navigator focuses on those who are considered the workforce housing.

Housing navigators in general work in many areas of housing services like financial assistance, landlord and tenant mediation, and keeping in check with fair housing rights/policies to just name a few.

During COVID-19, these housing navigation programs have shown to be essential as our homeless population continues to grow and be vulnerable due to lack of shelter options. Also, many people who were living paycheck to paycheck before COVID-19 have found themselves facing housing insecurity and many of them have never been in this situation before. These events have caused a huge strain on services, financial assistance, and the housing market when these were already a high-demand before COVID-19. However, despite the many barriers that have been presented these housing navigators have been creative to create innovative ways that they could still serve those in need of housing and strengthen community engagement. At the end of the panel, there will be time for Q&A.

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