Housing Emergencies 101: What to Do
By: Nicole McCarthy, Greenheart Work and Travel Cultural Outreach Assistant
You’ve found a place to live, settled in, and suddenly you’re faced with a housing emergency. These situations can be stressful, but you can prepare in advance by taking a few simple steps. Here are some tips on what to do in three common housing emergencies.
Infestations: It’s not fun to think about sharing your space with mice, spiders or other bugs, but it is a reality (especially in summer).
- Take pictures (if possible) of the rodents or bugs.
- Contact your landlord or host organization right away. Then, contact Greenheart to let us know what’s going on.
- Preventative measure – keep a clean and tidy living space. Take out garbage frequently and keep doors and windows closed. Always wash dirty dishes right away. Inspect for bed bugs upon arrival to your housing.
- For more tips on how to handle infestations, check out this helpful website.
Break-Ins: You come home to find your front door wide open and your money, passport, and computer are missing. What do you do?
- Call 911 immediately. Don’t enter the house if you believe you are in danger.
- Once you have called 911 and explained the situation, take an inventory of your belongings and determine what is missing. You can file this in the police report.
- Contact Greenheart right away, preferably with a copy of your police report or a contact at the police station. We will assist you in every way possible, but we need the necessary information.
- If your passport or any important document was stolen, contact your embassy in the United States. Find a list of embassies here.
- Have your landlord replace locks or fix broken windows to prevent future break-ins.
Evictions: You broke the rules of your lease or Placement Agreement and have to move out.
- Contact Greenheart immediately to explain what happened. We will help you secure temporary housing until you can find more permanent housing.
- Refer to our move-out checklist.
- Preventative measure – read your lease/Placement Agreement carefully to understand the rules and contact your landlord or host organization about anything that is unclear.
Remember that you can call CCI Greenheart’s office at 1-866-684-9675 Monday through Friday during business hours or at 1-855-767-5642 in the case of emergencies.