In a coordinated effort with the Veteran Affairs Administration and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Multnomah County and the City of Portland set a bold goal to find homes for homeless veterans in the region by the close of 2015.
With record low vacancies and an increasingly competitive local rental market, finding landlords willing to take a chance and rent to veterans proved to be a challenging prospect.
To overcome these obstacles, “A Home for Every Veteran” officials produced public service announcements and made appeals to property owners via local media outlets. Additionally, leaders including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales personally reached out to landlords, asking them to rent their available units to local veterans in need.
To further coax potential landlords into participating in the A Home for Every Veteran effort, financial assistance was offered, in case a tenant damages a unit beyond the security deposit, falls behind in rent, and/or breaks a lease prematurely. Landlords were also offered access to 24-hour rapid response from the newly created Landlord Recruitment and Response Team to address urgent tenant issues.
By the close December 2015, 695 veterans from the Portland/Multnomah County/Gresham area were placed in permanent housing.
“It is a testament to all our partners, and to the hard work of the veterans themselves, that we were able to achieve this goal” said Marc Jolin, the Initiative Director for A Home for Everyone.
“With this effort, we’ve demonstrated that if there is a real federal financial commitment to complement local funding, and focused coordination across the government, nonprofit, and private sectors, we can make the experience of homelessness rare, short, and one time.”