Communication between property/housing managers and tenants, regardless of whether it is supportive housing, should be a two-way street. Quality housing has mechanisms to ensure that property and housing managers share information with tenants but also have clear, regular procedures to receive and incorporate feedback from tenants.
Property and housing management staff should actively solicit feedback from tenants regarding their satisfaction with their individual housing unit, the larger property and/or the grounds. Feedback can be obtained through:
- A monthly email with a link to an online survey, asking tenants about their satisfaction with various aspects of the housing and providing space for additional comments.
- A comment/suggestion box in the comment area. Use of this box can be encouraged by offering a monthly drawing for a gift card to those submitting suggestions.
- A tenant council or other tenant-led group. If invited, the housing/property manager can attend these meetings, or the feedback can be provided through meeting minutes or a tenant representative.
- Annual tenant satisfaction survey, in which completion includes the possibility of winning a gift card or other prize.
In addition to obtaining feedback from tenants, it is important to “close the loop” by sharing what actions have been taken as a result of the feedback. This can be provided in a tenant newsletter, posted in common areas or provided via email.
It is important that tenants know how to contact staff with routine, urgent and emergency requests related to their housing unit. This should include sharing with tenants:
- The process for making routine maintenance requests such as requesting a repair to a torn screen. If this is a written process, consider including an option for tenants to contact staff in person or over the phone, due to personal preference or challenges with literacy. Consider what language support can be provided to tenants whose first language may not be English.
- The process for making urgent and/or emergency requests both during and after business hours. Tenants should know what is considered urgent, such as an overflowing toilet, and what is considered an emergency, such as a fire or natural disaster. Tenants need to know whom to contact, and this information should be posted in each apartment unit.
In addition to communicating the process to tenants, property and housing management staff also must have internal policies and procedures regarding how to respond to tenant requests.