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New “LeaseUp” Initiative Partners to Lease Housing to Curb Homelessness

Screenshot of LeaseUp website, described as “Zillow for affordable supportive housing”

LeaseUp is a new program that helps landlords navigate the process of filling units with people in need of housing. LeaseUp partners property owners and property managers with housing non-profits. These organization offer resources including incentives and case management expertise in matching homeless clients with appropriate housing, and continuing to work with formerly homeless renters.

The LeaseUp program is operated by People Assisting The Homeless - PATH.

The initiative was announced today at a kick-off ceremony at Selma Community Housing in Hollywood. At the event, L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell praised the new program and spoke of his successful efforts to partner to house the homeless in Council District 13. PATH's CEO Joel John Roberts described LeaseUp as the "Zillow of affordable supportive housing." Roberts stated that the goal of the program is to house 2,000 people each year in existing housing - while PATH and many others continue to build needed new supportive/affordable housing.

Dhakshike Wickrema, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas' lead deputy for homelessness, touted the LeaseUp program as a win-win-win. First and foremost, people who need housing will get housed. Non-profit agencies get connections to (and subsidies for) available housing units. Landlords get guaranteed rent and deposits through partner non-profits; the non-profits support placing renters, and provide ongoing case management.

The housing units involved are not just covenanted affordable units, but include common market-rate housing.

LeaseUp is funded at $3 million per year from Measure H, the 2017 county sales tax measure to end homelessness. The initiative is a scaled-up version of a successful pilot program operated by PATH.

How it works: landlords sign up via the website. Within a day, PATH staff contact landlords and orient them on the program. If a landlord opts to enroll their unit, non-profit staff inspect the site and provide a holding fee prior to client placement. Non-profit staff work with both clients and landlords to place people in appropriate units. When the homeless individual becomes the renter, non-profit case managers continue support to ensure success.

The LeaseUp website is already up and running. PATH and its partners encourage landlords to explore the website and sign-up to discuss becoming part of the program.

At today's announcement, formerly-homeless Angela Davis praised PATH for connecting her and her three children with housing through their earlier leasing pilot. Davis related that so many homeless people are "crying and screaming for second chances." LeaseUp is one promising new tool to provide some of those much-needed second chances.

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