County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has announced a new pilot program for landlords to be managed by the Department of Human Services (DHS), aimed at increasing the supply of available affordable housing units in the county.
“An important component to ending homelessness in Allegheny County is ensuring that there is a continuous supply of affordable options so that people can move beyond a shelter and into a more permanent space. With this pilot, we’re hoping to make it easier for landlords to consider becoming part of this solution,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
The DHS initiative, the Allegheny County Housing Navigator Program, connects participating landlords to a member of the DHS Housing Navigator Unit. Housing Navigators identify renters, ensure rent and incentive payments are made, and address any issues that might arise between a landlord and tenant.
New landlords are offered a $2,000 sign-on bonus for any apartment newly rented to an individual or family exiting homelessness. Landlords who renew the lease for an additional year are also eligible for a $1,000 retention bonus. Tenants will have supportive services and case managers to help prevent issues before they arise.
Once tenants are stabilized, their case manager may assist them with permanent rental subsidy programs through Housing Choice Vouchers offered by the Allegheny County Housing Authority or the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, allowing tenants to remain in the same unit. Landlords who participate in the program will receive guaranteed rental payments and will have access to up to $3,000 to offset costs associated with damages above the amount of the security deposit or for vacancy loss.
“We understand that a big deterrent for landlords to rent to people moving out of a shelter is financial risk,” said DHS Director Erin Dalton. “With program incentives and a housing advocate who can serve as a connection between landlords and tenants to address issues before they arise, we hope to remove this barrier and make this an easy choice for landlords needing to find new tenants.”
Landlords interested in taking part in the pilot are asked to email the DHS Housing Navigator Unit at [email protected]. More information on the program is available at http://www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/HousingNavigator.