As part of Santa Clarita’s plan to address homelessness, a multiagency effort is underway to help property owners and managers play a role in addressing the issue by housing people experiencing or on the verge of homelessness.
The city and Bridge to Home have joined Los Angeles County to sponsor a landlord engagement event for LeaseUp, a county program that offers free supportive services for landlords to help fill vacant units to people who are engaged with homeless services agencies and promote a successful tenancy.
Members of the Santa Clarita Homeless Task Force first heard about the program during their June meeting, when they learned that the program offers support, incentives and consistent assistance to decrease the gap for homeless individuals unable to find a home.
In the past five years, the program, an initiative of People Assisting The Homeless, has helped nearly 8,500 people move into permanent homes, but an estimated 134,000 are still in need as of 2018 in California and nearly 60,000 live without permanent shelter on a given night across the county, according to the 2019 countywide homeless count.
The LeaseUp program “has pioneered bold and innovative approaches to increase access to LA County’s rental market by collaborating with property owners and managers to help end homelessness,” according to Jennifer Hark Dietz, deputy CEO & executive director of PATH.
“There are lots of families and individuals looking for housing and people in the shelter that are ready to get a house but can’t find housing, so this event will help if we can educate that there are advantages to renting to our clients,” said Peggy Edwards, president of the Bridge to Home board of directors.
Currently, BTH has 80 families in the Santa Clarita Valley that are looking for housing. This figure does not include individuals in the shelter and others who live in RVs or their vehicles, according to Edwards.
Some of the benefits the LeaseUp program shares with interested property owners and managers are consistent rent paid and funding that can assist in repair of some property damage or vacancy loss.
“The faster we are able to house our clients, the faster we can open up space at the shelter for those on the streets and riverbed,” said Edwards. “We have people with guest houses, people that live by themselves or whose children have all moved out, so they may have rooms available, or property owners who can lease homes and apartments.”
The event is scheduled 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at The Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. For more information about LeaseUp, visit leaseuplosangeles.org.