Landlord Story: HNN Communities
HNN Communities is a Washington-based private affordable housing provider with 30 properties, which represents around 7,100 units in the Puget Sound region and northwest Washington. HNN not only operates the properties, but also develops and builds them. Their goal is to provide affordable, value-driven, quality housing for their residents.
When COVID-19 hit Washington, many of HNN’s residents, who are often low-income households, faced job loss or a sudden reduction in income.
HNN quickly jumped into action to proactively find solutions, encouraging residents to set up payment plans or make partial payments to avoid growing rent balances. Bellevue-based Resident Relations Manager, Heidi Anderson, acknowledges it can be anxiety-inducing to speak with your landlord if you are behind on rent and concerned about catching up. But she hopes that more people will take advantage of payment plans – and that housing providers will continue to find ways to work with their residents.
“A lot of our residents are essential workers who are doing their best to take care of themselves and their families, while unfortunately facing reduced hours and income. We’re encouraged that we’re seeing many people doing the best they can, even if that’s making incremental payments when they’re able,” Anderson said.
HNN also leaned on their network of community organizations like Housing Connector, Mary’s Place, and King County Housing Authority to help connect residents with potential sources of funding to bridge their income gap. Rental assistance requires a lot of money quickly, especially during these difficult times, so HNN also used their expertise to help counties determine how to best distribute rental assistance.
Outside of navigating rent payments, HNN has taken a number of steps to help the families and kids in their communities. They’ve put together a comprehensive resource list including energy assistance, food support, and educational tutoring for each of the counties they serve.
Several of their communities partnered with Comcast to fund increased Wi-Fi bandwidth to accommodate the increased number of students attending virtual classes from home. They also offered their common areas to the Renton school district which has established tutoring in 19 different languages and tech support for local students.
“We want residents to know we are navigating this difficult time together. We all need to support one another – from nonprofits, to housing providers, to local government,” Anderson said.