TGNCDC's HomeScreen Partners with Prosperity Connection to Add Value for Low to Moderate Income Clients
You may be aware that Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC) offers a highly rated tenant screening service called HomeScreen. The program originated over 10 years ago at the Grand Oak Hill Community Corporation, and was available to property owners in Saint Louis City. When Grand Oak Hill merged with Southwest Garden Housing Corporation and Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corporation to form TGNCDC in 2015, our five year Strategic Plan highlighted Tenant Screening as a high priority program for the newly formed organization. Over the past 4 years, we’ve started screening for properties outside of the City limits, and expanded to Saint Louis County, St Charles County, the Metro East, and beyond. The volume of applications processed nearly tripled from 2014 (814 applications) to 2017 (2,397 applications) as we modernized the tenant screening program. With major contributions by Equifax and their many talented employees, we created a new website dedicated to tenant screening, built an online application, improved our workflow and offered landlords a place to log in and check on the status of the pending applications. HomeScreen was born.
At HomeScreen, we strongly believe that this service helps stabilize neighborhoods by engaging landlords in their tenant selection and by fostering truthful relationships between landlords and tenants. We have seen the positive effects through our ongoing work and education with landlords over the past four years. And, with over 600 landlords in our database, we are happy to report that they have been satisfied with our work so far! In a 2016 survey 98% of landlords rated the tenant screening service as excellent/good. This year, 100% of HomeScreen landlords responded that they would recommend the service to other landlords.
However, we also wanted to focus on affecting long-term change for the applicants as well, especially those who may have not have been recommended via HomeScreen due to past evictions or outstanding collections. Discussing this concern with TIAA Bank, they introduced us to Prosperity Connection and suggested a collaboration. TIAA Bank has a strong commitment to financial training for low to moderate income residents and had partnered with Prosperity Connection in the past. Through their four Excel Centers in the Saint Louis area, including one located just one mile outside of our service area at 2828 Gravois, Prosperity Connection offers free one-on-one financial coaching to help clients set reasonable goals and get the assistance they need to achieve their financial dreams.
Now, all HomeScreen applicants will be able to opt-in to a referral program for free one-on-one financial coaching from the experts at Prosperity Connection! Since opening in 2012, the PC Excel Centers have served more than 40,000 people through group seminars, community fairs, and one-on-one financial coaching. We look forward to helping refer more people to this great program, expanding our collaborative work and plan additional benefits for both the applicants and property owners as HomeScreen grows. We are grateful to our colleagues at Equifax and TIAA Bank to helping us get to this point.