OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

New Story: PayTheirRent.Org

As a result of COVID-19 many families have lost their jobs, we want to make sure that they don't lose their homes as well.

Photo of Jimmy Jaramuzchett
2 2

Written by

Many families lost income due to the economic effects of COVID-19. Certain states have yet to adopt rent moratorium practices. As a result, families who cannot pay their rent are now at risk of being evicted. So New Story created a campaign to stop that from happening: PayTheirRent.Org - A crowdfunding platform that allows individuals to pay a portion of a family's rent. We then partner with local organizations using our original mobile technology to help them find and vet families who are the most at risk and will benefit the most from this assistance. 

More info here:

What is the need are you focusing on?

We are trying to address critical housing needs for families who have lost income due to COVID-19. We have learned that in emergency response, often government programs do not reach the most vulnerable families. In this case, after having many conversations with experts and practitioners in the federal, state, and municipal governments and organizations in the sector, we learned that the two most vulnerable populations are 1) families living in extended-stay motels and hotels who are not protected by the eviction moratorium and 2) refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants who have not yet received a social security number. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

With so much of our international work and travel paused, we felt it the most responsible use of resources was to impact families here in the U.S. with a model that fits into our organizational mission. Our team was able to rapidly prototype, learn from industry leaders, and launch a program focused on rent-relief for the most vulnerable families in the U.S. to keep them from becoming homeless. The service that we are providing is to fund the rents of 200 families for 3 months who are the most immediate risk of becoming homeless. We are working with the following target populations: families living in extended-stay motels, undocumented immigrant families, and asylum-seeking families. These are groups with little to no renter protections. The impact will be that these families can stay in their homes while they look for additional work and get back on their feet.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

This project is aimed at helping the most disenfranchised groups who are at the most risk of becoming homeless due to a loss of income in the Atlanta, Georgia area. At a time when COVID-19 rates are increasing and social distancing rules are relaxing in the state. The risk of an influx of homeless families would be devastating to Georgia's health infrastructure. According to the CA Dept. of Social services patients experiencing homelessness [or unstable housing] are admitted to hospitals 5 times more often than people who have stable housing. We are moving fast to provide housing to 200 families and using original tech to support partner organizations to qualify families. The local partner conducts the surveys through our mobile application (named Felix, they sync, and we receive the data in order to qualify the families. By using Felix, the process is more streamlined, secure, and easier to manage than a spreadsheet.

What is the name of your business or organization?

New Story

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Across the world, people lack safe shelter more than any other basic need. A home impacts every aspect of a family’s life: security, health, education, finances, and beyond. To address the complexity of the problem, we work towards creating holistic solutions. We have built more than 22 communities across Haiti, El Salvador, Bolivia, and Mexico including the world's first 3D printed community. We believe no one should live in survival mode and we create breakthroughs to ensure more families are in safe homes. In 2019 we launched Felix a mobile application to improve data collection for our partner organizations. Mission/vision: New Story pioneers solutions to end global homelessness and imagines a world where no one lives in survival mod

What is your profession?

New Story is a nonprofit organization that provides housing and original technology solutions to improve the entire social housing sector.

Where are you located (country)?

San Francisco CA and Atlanta GA

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Non-Profit/Philanthropy

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 5-10 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Nonprofit/NGO

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

The first phase of our project aimed to fund rents for families in Atlanta. In order to do this, we partnered with three organizations that work in the space and have long-standing relationships with the community and the populations we are serving. We are now exploring our second iteration and are looking to connect with potential partner organizations in other states.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

The main barriers to implementing this solution is the short turnaround time involved to vet local partners, survey each of the potential beneficiary families, and submitting rent payments by May 1st. There are many organizations that have the capacity to support this type of program, however, we are intentional about choosing execution partners who provide an array of wrap-around services and case management to connect each family with additional programs such as food deliveries, reemployment support, and rapid re-housing support services.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

During periods of emergency such as one we are living in right now, it is important to test our assumptions, think big on ideas that can truly be impactful, and respond with a sense of urgency. Although New Story had not traditionally worked in the US, we recognized the need that our neighbors in the US are experiencing. Given our team's super power in raising funds, operating quickly, and creating a strong branded campaign, we knew that it would be irresponsible for us not to give it a try.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

No and No

Website URL


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jimmy Jaramuzchett

Bettina Fliegel Thank you for the kind words!

View all comments