By Ian Sloan 10/13/17
Mayor Walsh is implementing a new program to help achieve his goal of ending chronic homelessness in Boston. He wants to give landlords incentives to rent apartments to homeless families or individuals.. Under the new Landlord Guarantee pilot program, landlords who rent to the homeless may be reimbursed up to $10,000 for losses due to unpaid rent, the cost of repairs due to damage, insurance deductibles, and court costs. Boston officials, who support the initiative acknowledged that a landlord should be willing to participate with no other incentive than his or her good-will. However, they agreed the monetary support may encourage landlords to participate.
Mayor Walsh also announced that the city is hiring a consultant to help fight youth homelessness. The consultant will gather data on homeless youth, identify their needs and find ways to address those needs. “One young person who lives without a stable home is one too many,” Mayor Walsh said. The city’s plan is aimed at unaccompanied teens, minors and 18- to 24-year-old, rather than families, whose care the state of Massachusetts already oversees.
The Landlord Guarantee program is modeled after similar programs in other cities, including Seattle, Portland, and Denver. Boston officials said those initiatives have met with resounding success in combating the homeless crisis in their respective cities. They reported that hundreds of homeless individuals and families have found homes, and fewer than five percent of participating landlords have requested reimbursements from the guarantee fund. The reimbursements will be the bulk of the costs to run the two programs. The program Mayor Walsh announced Wednesday is part of his administration’s plan to “end chronic homelessness in Boston” by the end of 2018. There are currently over 7,000 individual Bostonians who are homeless, including close to 4,000 homeless students going to Boston Public Schools.