FAQ

How did the Lotus Campaign start? 

The Lotus Campaign was born out of Mary Ruth and Philip’s desire to do more for people experiencing homelessness and a realization that to do so would require a new approach. You might say Philip’s background in workforce housing and Mary Ruth’s career as a psychologist were ideal for reimagining how to address the issue of homelessness.

You might be wondering where Molly and Beth come in.  Philip, Molly, and Beth all met volunteering for a program at the Urban Land Institute that works with communities all over the country on complex land use and real estate challenges.  From many volunteer programs, friendship and collaboration followed.  Eventually a long holiday weekend spent brainstorming, researching and tossing around ideas resulted in the Lotus Campaign.

The Lotus Campaign emerged from a desire to change the paradigm of how we think about homelessness and affordable housing.

What is Lotus Campaign’s goal?

Our goal is to dramatically increase the number of housing units available for people currently experiencing homelessness. We intend to accomplish this goal by engaging the private, for-profit real estate and investment communities in homeless initiatives and programs.

How is the Landlord Participation Program different from “risk mitigation” or “incentive” programs I have heard about?

Our plan is to induce landlords to increase the availability of units to people experiencing homelessness. We provide the landlord with an upfront lump sum payment and a guarantee against loss of rent or damages in exchange for waiving the security deposit and agreeing to give us 30 days notice before filing for an eviction.  The upfront payment can be used for anything the landlord wants to use it for—no strings attached. This is different from “risk mitigation" or “incentive” programs which do not provide an upfront inducement, but only offer support in the form of guarantees and damage deposits.

I am a landlord.  How do I get involved?

We would love to get you involved. Sign up for updates below and send an email to landlords@lotuscampaign.org and we’ll be sure to get in touch with you.

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I am part of a nonprofit that helps the homeless secure housing.  How do I take advantage of the Landlord Participation Program?

We would love to get you involved.  Sign up for updates below and send an email to organizations@lotuscampaign.org and we will get in touch with you.

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Does the Landlord Participation Program work? 

Yes!  We have already placed dozens of residents during our pilot phase.

Are you just displacing one tenant with someone who is currently homeless?

There is a critical shortage of affordable housing in the United States. While the cause of this shortage is multifaceted, economics play a major role. The cost to maintain and operate multifamily residential properties has increased to the point that landlords are faced with a choice of deferring maintenance to hold down costs or demolishing the property  for new development. Either choice reduces the supply of decent affordable housing.

Our Landlord Participation Program seeks to address this by offering landlords participation payments that can be used to make needed repairs or to increase the profitability of the property.  By increasing the viability of a property, we believe our Landlord Participation Program preserves affordable residential units.

Once the Landlord Participation Program is up and running we will begin work on increasing the total number of units available through rehabilitation of deteriorating and distressed properties; the repurposing of other property types such as motels, industrial, office and retail into housing; and new construction.

How do tenants pay rent after they have been approved for housing?

A resident’s base rent is generally paid from their earnings, a housing voucher, funds from their Sponsoring Organization, or some combination of those sources.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

The Lotus Campaign is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) entity. All contributions are tax deductible.  

Why are you named the Lotus Campaign?

The story of the lotus starts with the mud.  Not ordinary mud – not the mud of mud pies or facials, but smelly, oozy mud.  Mud that lays at the bottom of a pond, unseen, and conveniently out of mind.  The type of mud that no one wants any part of. And yet, it is from this mud that the lotus flower arises.

Nothing is more analogous to pond mud than homelessness.  If it is out of sight and out of mind, we are fine with it.  If we do not have to see it, touch it, smell it, or wade through it, it is not our problem. But there the analogy ends, for the homeless are people.  People just like us.  We take comfort in the delusion that we are not like the homeless.  That we would never allow ourselves to be reduced to living on the streets or under a bridge or in a cardboard box. Yet, the truth is that the vast majority of people experiencing homelessness are only different from the rest of us in that they have experienced some form of devastatingly bad luck that led to a downward spiral from which they have been unable to escape.  For greater context surrounding the challenge of homelessness, read more here.

The lotus flower is a symbol for rebirth and regeneration. And as Thich Nhat Hanh said, “No mud, no lotus”.

What is up with the pink and yellow? 

Good question. The pink and yellow represent the colors of the lotus blossom, specifically the petals and the flower core. Yellow is the color of optimism and energy; pink is the color of compassion and universal love of oneself and of others.

Where does the Lotus Campaign operate?

The Lotus Campaign is currently piloting and refining our program in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We plan to expand to other parts of the country soon.  

Are your Board of Directors paid for their involvement?

Our board members are not paid, but are reimbursed for reasonable expenses and travel costs.