The purpose of the District of Columbia Landlord Partnership Fund is to incentivize landlords to relax screening criteria for people who are experiencing homelessness and who may have barriers that prevent them from securing housing on their own, such as poor credit and past evictions. By offering a Fund to mitigate landlord exposure to the increased costs of renting to people experiencing homelessness including excess damage and unpaid rent, a strong relationship can be created with landlords who otherwise may not lease to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Why a Fund is Crucial in the District of Columbia
The District of Columbia is facing a severe shortage of affordable housing and a shortage of landlords willing to lease affordable units to households with histories of homelessness. Without more housing units that these households are able to access, it will be extremely challenging for the District to match the households with available apartment units that meet their needs—resulting in longer stays in shelter and fewer exits to permanent housing. Mayor Muriel Bowser has invested heavily in housing solutions that end homelessness—specifically, the Permanent Supportive Housing Program (PSHP), Rapid Re-Housing (RRH), and Targeted Affordable Housing.
How the Fund Will Be Financed
The Fund will be supported by private funding. Local business groups and philanthropic organizations will lead the effort to secure resources to both establish and then sustain this effort.
How the Fund Will Be Administered
The Fund will be managed and administered through the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), a well-established organization whose primary focus is devising, implementing and advocating for solutions so that low- and moderate-income District residents are able to thrive.
How the Fund Will Be Structured
This Fund will be modeled on programs already in place in several cities in the United States, particularly the Landlord Liaison Project that has been established in Seattle and featured in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness solutions database. Landlords who enter into leases with families and individuals from the District’s Department of Human Services (DHS) are eligible for participation in the Fund and can enroll through CNHED. DHS’ case managers will be available and ready to assist both the landlord and the tenant at all steps of the relationship.
What the Fund Will Cover
The Fund will cover certain costs potentially incurred by landlords of tenants whose rent is subsidized by Rapid Re-Housing or Permanent Supportive Housing programs. The coverage would be capped at $5,000 per leased or held unit. Specifically, the Fund would cover costs associated with:
- Property damage (beyond normal wear and tear) costs that exceed a tenant’s security deposit (up to $2,500)
- Unpaid rent owed by a tenant (up to $5,000)
What Rental Assistance Programs the Fund Will Support
The Fund will cover claims specifically and exclusively on units located in the District of Columbia and leased to tenants who receive rental assistance from the following DHS homeless services programs:
- Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) for Individuals
- Family Re-Housing and Stabilization Program (FRSP)/ RRH for Families
- Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
What the Fund Requires of Landlords
In order to be eligible to participate in the Fund, landlords will need to formally enroll in the initiative with CNHED and adjust their application screening criteria for DHS clients.
Timeline for the Fund
The work to raise the funds for the Landlord Partnership Fund is underway. The official kickoff for the program is scheduled for October 6, 2017, and the program is set to officially begin operation on January 1, 2018.
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