April 11, 2018
County and City Incentives Take the Risk Out of Renting to
Homeless Men and Women
Close to 200 landlords from across the County attended a HouseLA event to learn about programs that offer financial incentives in exchange for partnering with the County of Los Angeles, Cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, and non-profit service providers, to end LA’s homelessness crisis. Chair of the Board, Sheila Kuehl, Third District Supervisor, and officials from each City shared information about the Homeless Incentive Program (HIP), which provides financial incentives to landlords who agree to accept subsidized tenants holding County or City issued vouchers such as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing or Section 8 vouchers.
The HIP is part of an unprecedented and comprehensive effort by Los Angeles County and partner cities to end homelessness. It is comprised of three major components:
- One-month payment to hold the rental unit while a tenant is referred.
- Move-in assistance to homeless individuals such as money for the security deposit, essential furnishings, and utility connection fees.
- Financial assistance to landlords to mitigate damage caused by tenants during their occupancy.
The Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (CDC/HACoLA) and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) initiated their programs in 2016 and have been hosting similar events since that time. To date, both agencies have collectively housed over 1,100 families. Both programs will continue to be funded through June 30, 2020.
“Landlords are an integral part of this process,” said Monique King-Viehland, CDC/HACoLA Executive Director. “We rely on their commitment and willingness to help combat homelessness and provide a home for thousands of individuals and families with limited means.”
The event provided an opportunity for landlords to share their thoughts and ideas. Valuable insight provided by property owners at previous events has allowed the agencies to develop incentive programs like HIP that effectively address concerns.
“Over the last few years there has been a concerted effort by the County and its partners to improve the process of renting to Section 8 tenants. It is now more efficient, quicker, and a fairer deal that works for landlords. I encourage my fellow landlords to rent to people who have experienced homelessness as a way to give back, continue to operate their property in a financially responsible way, and be part of the solution,” stated Ken Downing, a Los Angeles property manager supportive of the effort.
The impact made by HIP has led to hundreds of individuals and families moving from homelessness into permanent housing within the County. While the partners celebrate these accomplishments, they also understand that there is still much more to do to continue the progress that has been achieved.
“In this very difficult rental market with less than a 3% vacancy rate and high rents, HACLA’s HIP has allowed us to be more competitive and build relationships with new landlords who are committed to helping us solve the homeless problem,” said HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie.
Other agencies in attendance included the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of West Los Angeles, Brilliant Corners, The People Concern, and St. Joseph’s Center, who had staff onsite to answer questions and distribute material on services provided. These agencies have been strong partners in the effort to end homelessness.
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