CUSTOMER STORIES

Q Foundation

The Q Foundation ramps up housing aid during the pandemic with Claris FileMaker

Industry

Social Services

Solution

Created an app to manage rent payments & legal paperwork related to housing and evictions.

Benefits

Preventing evictions, sometimes even during the court hearing to evict a client.

Q Foundation Founder, Brian Basinger, describes the exact moment he foresaw the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing insecurity. “It was February 21, 2020 — and I realized the virus was going to shut down the city,” he recalls. “I knew thousands of people would lose their jobs, and in many cases, their housing.” 

Looking for a solution to quickly scale housing aid, the Q Foundation sought to build a custom app with Claris FileMaker with help from Beezwax, a California-based Claris Partner.  

Q Foundation bridges the gap to keep clients in their homes. 

Brian dedicates his life to keeping people housed in the astronomically expensive San Francisco housing market. Decades ago, he established the Q Foundation to help people with HIV and AIDS maintain their rent-controlled housing. Now, the foundation is one of San Francisco’s largest nonprofit rent subsidy providers serving seniors, disabled adults, and families struggling with insecure living conditions. As of September 2020, the Q Foundation is also the primary provider of Bay Area emergency housing relief for people who’ve lost their jobs due to COVID-19. 

“We’ve seen drastic price inflations in rental housing,” says Brian. “As more people get left behind, there are terrible consequences for our society. When we can’t keep people housed, it impacts all of us.” 

According to Brian, people often risk losing their long-held apartments over small sums of money, typically $100-$200 per month. Known as the “landlord whisperer,” Brian has an uncanny ability to bridge the gap and negotiate with landlords to keep tenants in their homes. 

With so much experience, Brian recognized the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic early on. He rushed to find a more efficient approach to help those impacted by widespread (and rapid) joblessness.  

The foundation pivots during the pandemic.  

By early spring, many California residents lost jobs due to mandated business closures — such as Elvis, a Q Foundation client living in the San Francisco Castro District. A hair stylist for years, Elvis was shocked to learn his salon would indefinitely close, leaving him with no way to earn a living despite his desire to work.  

“I was literally at rock bottom after just a couple of weeks,” says Elvis. “All I have left is my home, and I was faced with losing it because I wasn’t permitted to work.”  

Brian anticipated this exact scenario and moved quickly to help San Francisco residents teetering on homelessness. 

“How do you stand in line to get housing assistance when the agency is closed? You can’t. That’s why we operate online,” exclaims Brian. “I knew we were going to get swamped with applications for emergency assistance from the tens of thousands of people out of work. We needed help.” 

Claris Partner Beezwax stepped in to build a custom app to help the foundation manage the influx of demand. Using Claris' low-code development offering, Beezwax quickly created an app to organize donations and donor communications, draft rent checks, and manage contact information and new client details. 

“FileMaker has this great open architecture that allows APIs to be integrated into it,” notes Brian. “Within a matter of weeks, we had a custom app that fully automated our online processes.”   

With the FileMaker app, Q Foundation plans to deliver aid on a grander scale. 

Brian hopes to expand the foundation’s reach beyond the Bay Area. With the Q Foundation app, he is confident they have the efficiency and scalability needed to help even larger populations. 

“Q Foundation is building national benchmarks for delivering emergency housing assistance online. We want to help many more people,” says Brian. “With FileMaker, we can scale our solutions to meet the needs of people all across the country — maybe even the world.” 

For Elvis, the help from Q Foundation still brings him to tears.    

“It was a miracle,” Elvis exclaims. “It was a blessing just knowing the foundation was going to help me and I could stay in my house. I just don’t have the words. I will never be able to fully thank them for keeping me in my home.”   

To support the Q Foundation with a donation and learn more about their future endeavors, go to https://qfoundation.networkforgood.com/

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