As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the nation, it became clear early on that the rental community was going to be hit the hardest. As businesses closed down for months on end and millions of people were without jobs, they were looking for answers on where to turn for assistance in this unprecedented time.

Christy Alvarado, MEB Management Services

MEB Management Services, a property management services company with properties in Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas, knew that their tenants would need help, so the company quickly jumped into action.

“We knew the need was going to be great as we watched the national and state unemployment number rise due to COVID-19 and we knew our residents would not be immune to the possibility of losing their job, being furloughed, or having hours reduced due to this pandemic,” said Christy Alvarado, MEB’s director of learning and development.

Windy Archibald, left, and Jennifer Caro, MEB Management Services.

So Alvarado, along with MEB team members Jennifer Caro and Windy Archibald, launched the MEB Cares Team in April to assist residents with rent payment resources and other resources.

The MEB Cares Team researched what resources were available for rent, utility, food, clothing, child care and other assistance that residents may need. They also continue to update the resources available.  Alvarado said that the Arizona Multihousing Association has been a tremendous resource for the MEB Cares Team and they utilize the resources they provide as well as others that they have discovered as the services they provide have evolved over the last five months.

“The endeavor to create the MEB Cares Team happened very quickly and we have been making tweaks to make it better as we continue month after month to assist our residents with resources,” Alvarado said. 

So far, the MEB Cares Team has had contact with just under 2,000 residents.

“We have heard so many heartbreaking stories of residents who have been impacted by the pandemic,” Alvarado recounts. “Many of our residents have lost jobs or have had their hours reduced. They are not only struggling to provide housing but food for themselves and their families.”

“We have talked with residents who recovered from having COVID-19 to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. We have heard too many times of residents who have had their hours reduced at work but they make too much for unemployment benefits but not enough to survive without assistance. This is a struggle for many and hearing these stories not only breaks our hearts but also gives us even more motivation to do everything we can to help our residents with getting the resources they need.”

Alvarado said that residents can contact the MEB Cares Team directly or through their community management office. The onsite team will provide the resident with more information and put them in contact with the MEB Cares Team. The team will respond back to the resident via email within 24 to 48 business hours and will work with the resident to set up a phone call or virtual meeting if the resident needs further assistance and can communicate in English or Spanish.

The MEB Cares Team also works to contact residents who have been unable to pay rent, but have not communicated with the onsite team to learn about what resources are available.

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