Independent Perspective 1772 with Ashanti Brown on MHPC's Monthly Housing Forum
Host: Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). My guest today is Ashanti Brown, peer support specialist with Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC). And I'm your host Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Ashanti.
Host: It's our pleasure to have you because you are the expert on an exciting new outreach that MHPC is doing. And to preface it a little bit, a few weeks ago, we had Cathy Colicchia from Independence Express talking about how people with a variety of disabilities have transportation as one of their greatest needs. But you folks have pointed out that there's an awful lot of people with disabilities for whom housing is a problem, especially now that the pandemic emergency is officially over and landlords feel free to start evicting people, sometimes without real due cause. But you're prepared to help people out to know the things that they need to know because you're starting a monthly housing forum. First, what can you tell us about who it's aimed for?
Guest: So, it is aimed for, I mean anyone who wants some knowledge about housing but also people that are facing evictions that are trying to find permanent housing or people who have been through issues with landlords, or their property manager. And people who may not or may or may not be aware of what their rights are.
Host: And I imagine that the number of consumers we serve that know every aspect of their rights and can fight for them are probably not frequent?
Host: So, in these, I guess eventually you plan to have these housing forums excuse me, fora, plural on a monthly basis and sometimes with guest speakers. First, when is the first one of these happening and who's going to be featured?
Guest: So, the first one is upcoming, so that's Monday, October 23rd, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. We're going to have Steven Haagsma. I might be saying his last name wrong, but he is from HOME, which stands for Housing Opportunities Made Equal. And he's going to be sharing with us rights what landlords can and can't do, what tenants should expect and things of that nature.
Host: I believe HOME has not to be confused with the one for people in disadvantaged and minority situations, but which is Housing Opportunities Made Easy, Housing Opportunities Made Equal fights for people whose disabilities and other circumstances puts them at risk for a disadvantage. Do you know what some of the other topics are that you'll be covering in the future?
Guest: It's mainly going to be about housing. It's we're trying to continue it to keep it up. So maybe if you missed the second, the first one you can come to the second one. So, it's going to be about evictions. It's going to be about how to apply for housing. It's going to be about housing opportunities that might arise that okay this building is up and running. It's brand new, where to apply different housing, things that people might find that they had a difficulty with and you know, we can assist with that.
Host: And I suspect you might help people find new affordable housing as that gets built also.
Guest: Yeah, right. Subsidized. You know, because everyone doesn't have the Section 8 voucher, you know, so a lot of people are looking for affordable housing that's subsidized. And that'll, you know, accommodate them with their income. You know, because it can be really stressful.
Host: Would you believe, I guess I talked too long before because we're already out of time. I'm sure people will have questions. How can they reach you?
Guest: They can call me or anyone, so the main number is 716-836-0822, either ext. 160 or 170 either or. But they can, if they just want to show up that day as well and let them know they're here for that, that's fine too.
Host: Thanks so much for being with us, Ashanti.
Host: You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Ashanti Brown, peer support specialist with MHPC. And I've been your host, Ernie Churchwell.