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Learning how to locate, obtain, and sustain decent, safe, and affordable rental housing can be an arduous process—especially for first-time renters.

“If someone wants to move out of their parents home, or just hasn’t been in the position to rent their own place before, where do they start?” Rita Grigg, executive director of the Fremont Housing Agency said. “If you’ve never done it before it can be overwhelming.”

In an effort to educate the public on finding, keeping and making the most out of rental housing, the Fremont Housing Agency and LifeHouse are hosting a session of the Nebraska RentWise Training Program from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 16 in the Gifford Tower Community Room.

RentWise is a tenant education program that helps people know how to find and keep decent rental housing, and how to become more successful renters.

The one-day program covers six modules including Communication and Conflict Resolution, Managing your Money, Finding a Place to call Home, Getting through the Rental Process, Taking Care of Your Home, and When You Move Out.

There are application fees, how to find a place where to look and then when you get ready to sign a lease—understanding everything that you are signing. “Basically the program covers everything from how to find a place, budgeting to make sure you can afford it, how to read a lease, getting along with your neighbors, taking care of your home and how to appropriately leave a place when you are ready to move out,” Tina Dooling, FHA Section 8 Program Coordinator, said. “Essentially how to rent, and how to be a good renter.”

Dooling will teach the RentWise course alongside fellow certified trainers Kathy Casper, Mary Mulder, Jessica Timm, and Roxanne Knobbe.

The RentWise session will last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will include a provided lunch. The program is open and free to FHA and LifeHouse participants and is open to the general public for a $5.

The $5 fee covers the cost of the course workbook as well as lunch.

Renters who complete the program of six modules earn a certificate of completion to show potential landlords and property managers that they want to be good tenants. Participants must stay for the full program to receive the certificate.

“Maybe they have had some tough times as a renter in the past, but have tried to work through all that to become good renters again, having the certificate can help in that process,” Grigg said. “Even with loans, people have taken their certificate to the bank and said I went through the RentWise program, I understand the responsibility and what to do to be a good, responsible renter.”

Registration for the RentWise class can be made by calling 404-727-4848 ext. 3. The deadline to register is March 4.

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