“There’s no question that the demand for affordable housing has increased over these past few weeks.”

That’s Atticus LeBlanc, CEO of PadSplit, an Atlanta-based start-up that helps homeowners divide up their houses to offer affordable rentals.

As a novel coronavirus sweeps the globe, ravaging businesses and forcing people to isolate themselves, the importance of hourly service workers is becoming glaringly clear. Still, many have lost — and will continue to lose — their jobs, putting a question mark behind their living situations.

PadSplit, which is predominantly utilized by lower-income hourly workers, aims to ensure people at risk of missing paychecks can stay sheltered, fed, and healthy, LeBlanc tells SaportaReport in an interview.

The young company has been working with local and national philanthropic agencies to ensure its clients aren’t forced onto the streets due to unemployment or underemployment.

“We are all having to reevaluate our current and new reality,” LeBlanc says. “We’re a start-up, so we’re always operating on a tight budget,” but the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus, has of course thrown the company a curveball.

Within the last week, more than 100 of PadSplit’s more than 700 clients have reached out for assistance making rent payments, and the start-up recently secured a $50,000 grant from a national nonprofit to help do just that.

Additionally, there are rooms available for college students who have been displaced by the many local universities that have been forced to shutter residences due to the pandemic, and PadSplit is offering to knock 20 percent off the first month’s rent.“When all of the universities effectively closed their doors, we realized students would be displaced and not have access to local support and, in many cases, would be left to fend for themselves,” LeBlanc says.

And for tenants with health concerns, PadSplit recently partnered with Teladoc, a company that allows patients to link with healthcare professionals digitally — and on the start-up’s dime.

(Header image, via PadSplit: A PadSplit member outside her shared home.)

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