Incentive program looks to house homeless with help from Seattle landlords

Nov 1, 2022, 12:42 PM

Photo from King County Regional Homeless Authority

The King County Regional Homeless Authority (KCRHA) has set up a new incentive program to encourage landlords to help house homeless people in their empty apartment units.

The program is looking to lease 800 units from private landlords to support the efforts in order to “reduce or eliminate standard tenancy screening criteria, match ready-to-rent tenants with vacant units and address concerns that landlords may have about renting to a person who previously experienced homelessness,” according to the website about the program.

Regional Homelessness Authority seeks 75% budget bump

Landlords are guaranteed to receive the full amount of rent, paid on time through the program. This will be coordinated through the Housing Command Center (HCC), a centralized emergency operations management system that’s the main goal is to connect the unhoused with housing and provide services to the homeless population of King County.

The HCC will also cover moving expenses and other one-time expenses like security deposits.

“We often receive the question, ‘what can I do to help?’” Marc Dones, CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, said. “This is one very clear way that you can take action and be part of a community effort to end homelessness.”

Prospective tenants will be taught rental responsibilities, apartment upkeep, and how to be a good neighbor. The HCC will also have program advocates, who will visit tenants in order to address concerns and ensure the tenant is adapting to their new home.

For landlords to join the program, they will need to apply “alternative screening criteria,” which will not include credit checks, eviction history, or other obstacles that can prevent the unhoused from moving into permanent housing.

“Unsheltered homelessness is one of our most urgent challenges in the region. Bringing more people inside, reducing barriers to housing, and providing access to service supports means healthier communities for everyone,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said. “The Housing Command Center’s work to coordinate these actions and implement solutions is critical to tackling this crisis. Through this innovative approach, landlords have an opportunity to help members of our community find safety and stability, and people experiencing homelessness will have a place to call home.”

Interested landlords should contact housing@kcrha.org.

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Incentive program looks to house homeless with help from Seattle landlords