TUCSON – Antonio Coronado hopes the new web tool, Hello Landlord, will be a cyber middleman.
“It’s the beginning of the conversation, it’s opening the door of that conversation,” he said.
Coronado is one of the law students at the University of Arizona’s Innovation For Justice Program. The students teamed up at BYU to help create, Hello Landlord, a website dedicated to curbing the eviction epidemic in Tucson and across the nation. The website went live this week.
“It really helps address a critical gap which is communication,” Bonnie Bozata, Pima County’s Ending Poverty Now program manager said. “Sometimes people don’t communicate because they’re not quite sure what to say or they don’t have access to a computer or they feel intimidated or they’re out of time.”
According to Princeton University database, Eviction lab, Tucson is a top-25 eviction city.
Students met first-hand with people who were evicted to hear about their experiences.
“To see people who are often left out of the equation, to be able to come in and sit down with university law students and really have their experience matter, it was so empowering for them,” Bozata said.
Hello Landlord is free and all you need to sign up is an email address to log on. Users can then write a letter to their landlord.
“There were landlords not understanding the situation of the tenants they were working with and there were tenants not understanding that they could reach out to their landlord,” Coranado said. “There was kind of two different layers of problems happening. I can’t pay rent or I can’t pay rent now because of ‘X’.”
The website is available in both English and Spanish. It can be accessed with a laptop, desktop or smartphone anywhere in the United States.
“I am going to miss rent and I know that,” Coronado said. “I am reaching out proactively. Here is what I want to do.”