Beyond Housing’s CEO Explains the Pandemic’s Effect on Tenants and What the Nonprofit is Doing to Help

Beyond Housing’s President and CEO Chris Krehmeyer joined The Nine Network as a guest on the Sept. 3 edition of the “Donnybrook” local talk program.

Chris’ segment starts at 28 minutes.

He shared the seriousness of the COVID-related financial challenges facing landlords and tenants—as well as what types of assistance have worked so far and what more could be done.

“Philanthropy has a role, but the scope and scale of the problem is so large that the federal government will have to play a role in addition to philanthropy,” Krehmeyer said.

He credits the steps the government took earlier this year with helping keep many St. Louis-area families in their homes. “Between the payroll protection program, the stimulus check, and the bump-up in unemployment, it actually worked. It staved off a disaster.” But, he added, the immediate future continues to look bleak economically, and the proposals for additional aid are smaller and will have less impact.

Beyond Housing’s comprehensive model makes the organization uniquely suited to handle complex challenges involved with transforming St. Louis’ underserved communities—or in this case, the pandemic, which has impacted every aspect of people’s lives. One of the keys to that model is establishing deep, trusted relationships within the community—between residents, nonprofits, businesses, government officials, and others. This is especially important for residents in Beyond Housing’s 500 rental units.

“We try to build trusting relationships with families, to be there with them over time, not just show up one time,” Krehmeyer said. “What our staff does on a regular basis is phone and text and stay in touch with our families in our rental homes to make sure they are not falling behind in rent. We’re supporting them in terms of paying their utilities as well.

These relationships within the community enabled the organization to make an immediate impact at a time when it was desperately needed. They are also key in Beyond Housing’s work of transforming our underserved communities to create a stronger, more equitable, and prosperous St. Louis for all.

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