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Mayor to Landlords: Help Us House Homeless Seniors, Veterans, Individuals

Rental Units Can Help Support ‘Operation Shelter to Home’ at Convention Center

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – As the region works to protect the health and safety the homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) President and CEO Richard C. Gentry today called for San Diego landlords to rent their units to San Diegans experiencing homelessness, including seniors and veterans, in an effort that builds on the successful “Housing Our Heroes” initiative.

Property owners who may be unable to find renters or have difficulty paying mortgages during the COVID-19 economic crisis may be particularly interested in participating in this incentive program.

"I'm calling on landlords to do good, and get paid to do it, by housing San Diegans experiencing homelessness," Mayor Faulconer said. "Landlords have mortgage payments to make, and hundreds of individuals at the convention center need housing now, so the time has never been better for property owners to sign up for this incentive program."

The call to action supports “Operation Shelter to Home” at the San Diego Convention Center, where case managers are working to find permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. With more rental units, “housing navigators” at the convention center will have more options to match individuals most ready for independent living to a home.

“Landlords in San Diego have answered the call before, and the San Diego Housing Commission looks forward to partnering with more landlords to provide crucial housing resources through ‘Operation Shelter to Home’ for San Diegans experiencing homelessness," Gentry said. "This is also a unique opportunity to provide financial incentives to landlords who may be experiencing challenges of their own at this difficult time.”

Thousands of homeless San Diegans have been housed through this program over the years. Within 18 months (March 2016 – September 2017), Housing Our Heroes secured housing for 1,000 veterans experiencing homelessness with the participation of more than 430 landlords. The campaign grew into SDHC’s Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program (LEAP), which assists both veterans and non-veterans experiencing homelessness. LEAP has helped secure housing for more than 2,300 households experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness since July 1, 2017.

Incentives for landlords who rent to San Diegans experiencing homelessness include:

  • Extra payments: $500 for the first unit landlords rent to a homeless household and $250 for each additional unit
  • Up-front funding: Up to two times the contract rent in security deposits and an average of $100 in utility assistance per household
  • Peace of mind: A contingency fund to help landlords cover expenses, such as repairs that exceed security deposits
  • Staff support: Dedicated San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) housing specialists to answer landlords’ questions

Landlords looking to fill their units and be a partner in this endeavor are encouraged to contact:

San Diego Housing Commission

Housing First San Diego Program

(619) 578-7768


More information on the program can be found on the Landlord Engagement and Assistance program website.

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