Owners, Non-Profit Team for Homeless Shelter Programs

Pacific Crest obtains market rents from LeaseUp for the Alexandria Tower units.

While the homeless situation in Los Angeles presents constant challenges, efforts to alleviate the problem have also created
relationships.


Homeowners, nonprofits, and government agencies have recently found themselves acting as partners in solving the problem.


The goal is to find mutually acceptable solutions to help reduce the homeless population, which topped 66,000 last year in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.


Programs have been created in which an owner receives income for their participation, and support groups are able to provide transitional housing.
“Moving people to permanent housing is very slow due to the shortage of available units and the willingness of landlords to accept homeless tenants,” Heidi Marston, executive director of LAHSA, said in a statement. Zoom presentation in February.


An example is LeaseUp, a program from LASHA and PATH.


The program connects landlords with underserved tenants. Landlords get market rents for their properties, along with other incentives, while organizations are pushing people who have difficulty finding housing into housing instead of letting them end up on the streets.


From November to February, over 1,200 homes were added to the program by 600 homeowners.


Jennifer Hark Dietz, executive director of PATH, called the program a “three-way winners program for Los Angeles homeowners, tenants and communities.” (Landlords) recognize the value of the program to their tenants and their bottom line.


Other programs to get people off the streets include Project Room Key, where the county uses hotel and motel rooms as temporary housing.


Organizations like Brilliant Corners, Covenant House and Step Up are also working with landlords to find permanent homes. In most cases, tenants pay the rent, but these organizations help obtain government grants and other forms of rent assistance.


Programs like LeaseUp offer landlords rents at market rates, which experts say is attractive to landlords.


BJ Turner, founder of Beverly Hills-based Dunleer, works with groups such as PATH and Covenant House to fill vacancies in its buildings with people in need of transitional housing. He filled 40 units this way.


He called the programs a “win-win” because he was able to secure market rents for his housing while helping those in need.


“Thanks to Covid, a number of people who lived in apartments have moved to live with their family or with a roommate to save costs. As a result, there was a lot of turnover, and that led to an increase in vacancies, ”Turner said.


He said individuals, not organizations, rent the unit, but tenants receive support from groups like PATH and often a rental guarantee. Most people are also assigned a social worker to help them in the future.


Dan Tenenbaum, founder of Pacific Crest Real Estate in Brentwood and a board member of the California Apartment Association, was on LeaseUp’s Homeowners Advisory Group. Since the start of the program, it has sheltered 25 former homeless people at its properties.


“When we had a pretty tight vacancy market, we did it because it was the right thing to do,” Tenenbaum said. “Now with Covid… apartment owners are experiencing higher vacancy rates, and it has become a smart business move. ”

Quick actions
One of the advantages, he added, is how quickly LeaseUp gets people into the units.



“Part of what they do is they provide a pretty quick turnaround time in terms of inspection to payment,” Tenenbaum said. “Basically, as soon as a unit is ready to be rented, they can ask a representative to check the unit out fairly quickly… then they sign a contract and the owner of the apartment can receive the rent from the day of the rental. ‘inspection. This is often better than renting it from the market where you might have more downtime.


The organization pays a security deposit while it finds someone for the unit.


Tenenbaum added that he gets a security deposit equal to twice the monthly rent for the unit and damage protection through the program.


Ariel Hyatt is the head of homelessness and housing initiatives for South LA-based SoLa Impact, a real estate fund that develops and manages affordable housing. The group has 1,500 units and 1,300 more to come by 2024.


SoLa has worked with businesses and nonprofits to make housing more affordable. It has partnerships with more than 40 organizations “where the organization performs a lease on behalf of the individual or the family,” Hyatt said.
Groups he works with include PATH’s LeaseUp program.


But there are still some difficulties associated with these programs. Some landlords said other tenants were opposed to the presence of former homeless or at risk in their buildings.


And these people still need the services of a social worker. It can be more difficult to provide these services for things like career counseling because, according to experts, more comprehensive services can be provided in entire buildings dedicated to housing with support services than traditional multi-family properties.


Tenenbaum said the homes his company rents to formerly homeless or at-risk people are “scattered around the properties and in the building” because of the perceived “risk of having problems with others. tenants “.


But he added that in some of the older rent-controlled properties there is already a mix of people and people paying a variety of rents, making the new tenants less distinctive.

Services still needed
Dunleer’s Turner said some of its products, like studios and small one-bedroom units without parking, lend themselves well to programs like LeaseUp.



Tom Bagamane, founder of Brentwood-based Giving Spirit, said people who have been homeless for some time have become “deprogrammed” and work needs to be done to assimilate individuals into their new homes.


“They found that their comfort, safety and security with the tent… translating that into an apartment with showers, beds and furniture is sometimes a very, very difficult transition. Often, owners and people with good housing intentions have been surprised to find that our former homeless friends still sleep on the floor after moving them in, ”Bagamane said.


He added that people need help on a permanent basis and that “if they walk into a building without support services, I will tell the landlord that they need more”.


He added, however, that some of the nonprofits and programs like LeaseUp offer services.


Many programs target people at risk of homelessness and who have not been able to find housing but who are not actually on the streets.


But experts and landlords agree that programs allowing homeless and at-risk people to rent vacant homes at market rents are likely to stay there.


“A program like this will be sustainable,” Turner said.

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