Landlords are in need of tenants. Homeless individuals are in need of, well, homes. A new pilot project in San Mateo County is hoping to put both camps together and recently shared in $1.1 million worth of state grants that may help make the goal a reality.
The San Mateo County Human Services Agency received $62,724 from the Department of Community Services and Development for its San Mateo County Housing Locator Pilot Project.
The CSD, which works under the umbrella of the state HSA to provide housing, recently announced $1.1 million in competitive community service block grants to 18 providers focusing on youth programs and homeless services.
The San Mateo County project aims to help people living on the streets, in vehicles, encampments and emergency shelters by recruiting landlords willing to rent units to those either already homeless or in immediate risk of becoming so.
The pilot is expected to launch around November, HSA spokeswoman Effie Verducci said.
Part of the focus will be developing marketing material and reaching out to landlords to encourage them to participate. Some funds will also be available to give the landlords financial incentives like guarantees to pay for damages beyond those covered under the security deposit if necessary, she said.
Similar housing locators have been used elsewhere in the country where rents are high and the market vacancy rate is low, she said.
“In the county’s pricey rental market, and with vacancy rates below 4 percent, our homeless face multiple challenges in obtaining housing, beyond simply the financial ability to pay rent,” Verducci wrote in an email to the Daily Journal.
Locally, participants will be referred to the locator by community partners, emergency housing shelters and housing programs serving the extremely low-income population.
In announcing the grants, CSC Director Linné Stout said the funds provide a financial infusion directly into the awarded communities for the needy in its own backyard.
“With these grants, local providers receive the funds needed to work quickly to address the local needs of low-income Californians,” Stout said.
San Mateo County counted 2,281 homeless individuals in 1,835, according to the 2013 survey.
The survey, conducted every two years, noted that of those, 1,646 were adults, 180 were a mix of adults and children and nine were only minors.
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