An incentive program is available for San Diego landlords who make units available to homeless families, offering them up-front cash, increased security deposits, and funds for property repair.
The Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program, or LEAP, isn't new, but Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday highlighted LEAP's ability to take stress away from landlords and encouraged them to join the network.
“Today I am calling on San Diego Landlords to join us in housing San Diego’s homeless," Faulconer said, adding that hundreds of homeless individuals and families sheltered at the San Diego Convention Center will soon be looking to transition to more permanent housing.
The main incentives of the program include:
- Extra payments: $500 for the first unit landlords rent to a homeless household and $250 for each additional unit
- Up-front funding: Up to two times the contract rent in security deposits and an average of $100 in utility assistance per household
- Peace of mind: A contingency fund to help landlords cover expenses, such as repairs that exceed security deposits
- Staff support: Dedicated San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) housing specialists to answer landlords’ questions
LEAP started as the Housing Our Heroes initiative in 2016, and was focused on providing permanent housing to homeless veterans. Its scope soon widened to include anyone experiencing homelessness and helped more than 3,000 individuals and families find housing in its first 18 months, according to the mayor.
There were more than 900 beneficiaries of Operation Shelter to Home living at the San Diego Convention Center as of Tuesday morning, according to Faulconer. The project launched near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic as a way to protect the homeless population and centralize services.
The end goal of the operation is to get homeless individuals and families into long-term housing, and more housing options will be needed when the time comes.
“The LEAP program offers not only the ability to house some of the most vulnerable citizens who absolutely need the shelter, but also it's a program that will help the landlords who, in some cases, may be experiencing hardship of their own," Richard C. Gentry, San Diego Housing Commission President & CEO, said.
Gentry said there are around 700 landlords already in the program, including David Antczak of ABN Property Holdings.
“I’m a big advocate of it, especially now when a lot of landlords are being affected by difficulties paying rent," Antczak said.
Landlords interested in joining the program can contact the San Diego Housing Commission at (619) 578-7768 or HousingFirstSanDiego@sdhc.org.