PREP Coordinator Helping to Keep Renters in their Homes

April 15, 2024

As the headlines have shown over the past 4 years, affordable housing is very limited in the Poconos and throughout PA. This lack of affordable housing means it is very important for renters to know how to find and most importantly, maintain a rental. In an effort to increase the success of local renters, Pocono Mountains United Way began offering the Prepared Renters Education Program (PREP) in February.

PREP teaches essential skills for renting including budgeting, communicating with a landlord, understanding a lease, and understanding tenant rights in PA. By providing this training, program coordinator Heather Kebernik is helping to make sure that renters have all the information that they need to maintain their housing by becoming responsible renters.

Heather’s primary role as PMUW’s Housing Locator is to work with landlords and agencies to catalog what is available for use by housing agencies searching for units to place their clients into. But, she also knows that just getting their clients into housing may not guarantee that they can maintain that housing.

“My goal is to motivate landlords to rent to people who may not appear to be the best rental candidates on paper and to show them that these individuals have taken the time to learn about what it means to be a good tenant,” said Heather.

Heather provided two series of PREP courses for individuals staying at the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church cold weather shelter in February and March. Individuals participated in three class sessions to complete the course. Nine individuals completed the course and out of those participants, one client was able to find housing soon after the training.

Heather has also been working with other housing assistance agencies in the area to deliver customized versions of the course for their clients in the future, and to offer a series to the public later this summer.

Heather feels that the program is going well and is already showing results. Landlords have told her that they are excited to hear about the PREP program. One of the landlords was so excited about the course that he told Heather that he would incentivize his current tenants to take the course and give them a rent adjustment for taking the course because he felt this type of education is very beneficial.

Heather reported that she has had success with the housing locator services as well. After months of trying to create relationships with agencies and landlords, she was happy to announce that their first three apartment match successes took place in January and March and she is waiting to hear on results of another match-making connection very soon.

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new initiative! We know that building relationships with agencies and improving the knowledge of residents is an investment in our community!

For more information on the PREP program, contact Heather at 570-243-6687 or email