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San Diego Asks Landlords To Rent Units To Homeless Through Incentive Program

A for rent sign in front of a cottage in San Diego, Ca., Oct. 30, 2018.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A for rent sign in front of a cottage in San Diego, Ca., Oct. 30, 2018.

The city of San Diego asked local landlords Tuesday to consider renting units to San Diegans experiencing homelessness, as part of an incentive program city leaders say will provide upfront funds for landlords having trouble finding tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is asking landlords to sign up for the city's Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program, which Mayor Kevin Faulconer said allows landlords "to get paid to do good, to help people."

Faulconer said the program's landlord incentives include up to $500 for the first unit rented to a homeless family or individual and $250 for each additional unit. Landlords will also receive up to two times the contract rent in security deposits, an average of $100 in utility assistance per household and a contingency fund to cover expenses that exceed the security deposits.

Faulconer said the program would help the city in its ongoing efforts to house the homeless at the San Diego Convention Center, dubbed Operation Shelter to Home.

LEAP is born out of the Housing Our Heroes program, which started in 2016 and housed around 1,000 homeless veterans, according to Richard C. Gentry, San Diego Housing Commission president and CEO.

Gentry said Housing Our Heroes was expanded to assist all homeless individuals and LEAP started in 2017, which has housed around 2,300 individuals and families since its inception.

Gentry said the program offers "the ability not only to house some of the most vulnerable citizens who absolutely need the shelter, but also a program that will help the landlords, who may, in some cases, be experiencing some financial hardships of their own."

Interested landlords can contact the San Diego Housing Commission at 619-578-7768 or by emailing HousingFirstSanDiego@sdhc.org.

More information is also available at www.sdhc.org/doing-business-with-us/landlords/landlord-engagement-and-assistance-program-leap/.

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