WKOW: Tenant Resource Center Moves Main Office, Expands to Sun Prairie

Written by JT Cestkowski. Original Article Found Here.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Tenant Resource Center (TRC) is dealing with a different kind of housing: its own. The non-profit has moved from its previous location to a new spot in the name of expanding access. 

TRC deals with a lot more than evictions.

"You could have a one-on-one conversation with our community members, and be able to find out that there's all these other needs," said TRC Program Manager Bryan Antimo.

To make room to address those needs, TRC moved offices on Jan. 2, and plan on a grand opening of their 2510 Winnebago Street location in February.

The center used to work out of the Social Justice Center on Williamson Street.

"It is so much nicer place," Antimo said of the new office. "It is much larger than our previous office."

The staff can now all be in the office together. Their old space could not fit all the desks they needed on eviction court days. Staff would rotate between working remotely and in office. Any private calls they needed to take happened on the sidewalk outside.

Aside from having plenty of enclosed offices and desks, the new location is on a bus line and has far more parking. Staff said those qualities will help expand access TRC services.

"I think that's what I'm more excited about: what's coming, [rather] than what we already have," Antimo said.

The TRC's expansion plans to extend access go beyond Madison residents. The center has its eyes on surrounding communities.

"Everybody was so excited, like, 'Oh, you came to us,'" TRC Executive Director Hannah Renfro recalled of the reception her staff received at a training they held in Sun Prairie. "And it was this. 'Oh, wow, we need to be here.'"

The training showed the demand for housing help outside of Madison.

"For so many people, driving into Willy Street or to downtown is hard," Renfro said, listing a lack of transportation, child care or time off work as example hurdles. "We are really just pushing as much as we can to be out in places where we know that there's a need."

That is why TRC will have staff at the Sunshine Place on 1632 W. Main Street in Sun Prairie three days a week beginning Jan. 18.

Bilingual staff will be present on Mondays and Thursdays, with English-speaking staff present on Wednesdays.

"We can help support people to be able to stay in long term stable housing," Renfro said about why they are putting an emphasis on accessibility. "And that's really why we are are all here."