News & Events

Lunching with Landlords: How UESF Builds Trust for Community Stability 

The city of Philadelphia has a shortage of affordable housing units in Philadelphia –88% of people with incomes of less than $30,000 are cost-burdened, according to Pew Charitable Trust, far more than other major cities. But what we know at UESF is that even when a tenant finds an apartment, we also need to build community trust, so that landlords, tenants, and neighbors can have positive interactions, and maintain stable relationships across time. This trust, in the end, is what makes for a healthy and sustainable community. 

That’s why we are extra proud of our landlord network –now 360 landlords strong. Since 2016, UESF has partnered with landlords on rental and utility assistance for low-income tenants. We help ease the financial risk for landlords by channeling assistance funds and working as a partner in the landlord-tenant relationship. Our goal is create community with landlords and tenants, in order to solve problems before they start. Then, even when rental assistance runs out, tenants are more likely to remain as tenants. And with stable and safe housing in a familiar neighborhood, people can build back their lives. 

One special landlord is Ms. Clara Glenn. “She is very patient,” says UESF Certified Housing Inspector Dorothy Owens. “She works so well to get UESF participants into housing, whether it’s a room, a one-bedroom, or whatever they need. She trusts UESF so that even when the tenant has no money to put down, she knows she’ll get paid by us in time. She has even reduced her rates so that once the assistance ends, the tenant can still afford the rent. She tries to keep all her places filled with veterans coming through UESF.” 

The landlord network serves a variety of households, but mostly veterans through our SSVF program. We have housed over 1750 veterans in safe, comfortable homes all across Philadelphia, nearly always within 45 days of a veteran coming to us. 

On March 31, we were excited to again host the semiannual Landlord Luncheon. 45 people came to enjoy food and fellowship with our staff and community partners. Patricia King, Manager of Community Engagement at PECO, spoke about usage reduction services and special rental assistance made available by federal Covid-19 stimulus funds. Nancy Giacomini of the Eviction Diversion Program of the City of Philadelphia discussed how to work with the city. And Landlord Deanna Miller spoke about the landlord perspective on mediation. 

If you are a landlord interested in partnering with us, reach out to Ms. Dorothy Owens at