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Landlords Frank and Barbara Skrzypek love the SNO Mass program—here’s why

November 17, 2023

If there’s one thread running through the lives of property owners Frank and Barbara Skrzypek of Southampton, Massachusetts—who are proud to participate in a Way Finders program that benefits both landlords and tenants—it just might be flooring.

“I met my wife in a carpet store,” said Frank of Barbara, who moved from Poland to the United States when she was 21. “I used to work at Carpet Factory Outlet and I was selling her dad and her brother some carpeting. They were talking in Polish about me and saying I was trying to cheat them and everything else. So at the end of the conversation, I said a few words back to them in Polish—I’m first-generation Polish-American—and her brother’s face turned bright red. And I ended up asking Barbara out on a date. The rest is history.”

In 1988, the couple opened Enfield Carpet & Flooring, which they run today with sons Phillip and Brent. 

Frank, who got into real estate with his wife in 2001, expresses less enthusiasm at the prospect of painting—such as may be required after frequent tenant turnover.

“I’d rather have a long-term tenant than have a turnover every two or three years,” said Frank, an avid tennis player who also enjoys swimming and riding his Peloton bike. “And then you have to repaint and do everything. For us, a long-term tenant makes sense.”

When asked how many units they own, they pause for a moment to take a quick tally.

“Six… ten… thirteen,” said Barbara, who enjoys gardening and walking their dogs. “An apartment building and houses.” 

Their residential rental portfolio is located primarily in Connecticut, save for two homes in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to which they have made extensive renovations and improvements. It’s a town they describe as tight-knit, family-oriented, safe, and clean. 

“Also, the people are very nice,” said Barbara. “They’re walking, jogging, with their dogs. So it’s a really nice community.”  

“If you ever drive by the new high school, it’s like a junior college,” said Frank. “It’s one of the top high schools in the state. People move to Longmeadow for four years just to have their kids in the high school.”

Among those Longmeadow parents enjoying such resources are Frank and Barbara’s tenants: Samantha, a mother of three, and Vanessa (whose name has been changed to maintain confidentiality), a mother of two. Both are participants of Way Finders’ economic mobility program Supporting Neighborhood Opportunities in Massachusetts (“SNO Mass”), which helps Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher recipients with school-aged children move to communities that offer greater opportunity. These are locations noted for high-performing schools, low poverty rates, and environments that promote positive health and well-being outcomes for children and adults. 

The SNO Mass program benefits landlords, too, such as by providing financial incentives, a single point of contact at Way Finders, and a smooth, speedy process to connecting with eligible tenants. 

The Skrzypeks first learned of the SNO Mass program from Samantha in 2019 (who was featured in a 2020 Way Finders video about her experience with the program).

“She came to see the house, and I really love her kids. They were dancing and running. Samantha said, ‘I would like to live here.’ And she started talking about SNO Mass and Way Finders,” said Barbara. “We slowly got familiar with it and learned. We felt we were in a place to help other people, especially to give access to the schools. I love the program, it has connected us with honest people and it’s helping another person.”

“As a landlord, you can get lost sometimes and just thinking about what you can get for rent. I mean, our values, it’s not always about that. It’s not always about money, honestly,” said Frank. “I would encourage landlords, a hundred percent, to try and connect with the SNO Mass program if it makes sense for them. And if they are looking for tenants who respect their property, have good rental history, and are really pleasant. And who will be there for quite a few years.”

Frank and Barbara value the relationships and connections they’ve made with their Longmeadow tenants. They are just getting to know Vanessa and her family, who moved in this past summer. For the past few years, they’ve watched Samantha’s children grow and thrive.

“You can see them growing, they’re so good,” said Barbara. “I see them all the time, they pop by the store, bring me cookies sometimes. They’re just nice people. Samantha is a very good mother, how she provides for the children, she will do anything to make sure the kids are safe and get on their way.”

“It’s almost like a pay it forward type of thing, a win-win for tenants and landlords,” said Frank of the SNO Mass program. “Kids wouldn’t have had the same opportunities if they’d stayed at their previous school systems. Longmeadow is a whole different world.”

Learn more about Way Finders’ SNO Mass program.