More property managers and landlords with rental units are needed to help end veteran homelessness if Durham is to meet a national challenge.
In June 2014, the Obama Administration issued the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015. Since Durham’s effort began, some success has been achieved through collaboration among the Durham Housing Authority, Durham VA Medical Center Homeless Program, City of Durham Community Development Department, and local homeless housing providers.
Since signing the challenge, Durham has housed 180 formerly homeless veterans through collaboration facilitated by the Durham Homeless Services Advisory Committee. To support these local efforts, Durham can access up to $2 million per year to provide HUD-VASH rental assistance vouchers to property managers and landlords who are willing to house the community’s remaining 80 chronically homeless veterans.
A major part of the success so far is partnerships with local property management firms and landlords who are willing to accept rental vouchers for homeless veterans.
“We have both the financial and human resources available in Durham to house the remaining 80 chronically homeless veterans,” said Reginald J. Johnson, director of the city’s Community Development Department. “We need more property managers and landlords who are willing to accept rental vouchers for veterans experiencing homelessness. Their participation is critical since Durham won’t receive this federal support unless our landlords come to the table and partner with us.”
Participating landlords will have guaranteed income through reliable monthly rental payments and fair market rent on their property; a say in security deposits; annual property recertification by third-party inspections to help maintain quality; and the benefit of VA services, which provide ongoing case management for tenants and lowers default risks.
Property managers and landlords who wish to partner in this effort, or with questions about the HUD-VASH rental assistance voucher program and those receiving assistance from Supportive Services for Veteran Families programs, should contact the Durham VA Medical Center Homeless Program at 919-286-0411, ext. 7065 or visit the VA website. For more information about Durham’s collaborative efforts to end chronic homelessness for veterans, contact Project Manager Matthew Schnars with the City’s Community Development Department at 919-560-4570, ext. 22249 or by email.