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SUMMER 2013
Home Forward | News for Landlords
CONTENTS
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Sequestration Budget Cuts Affect Voucher Program  
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A Shout Out to Landlords Helping Our Vets
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Move Out Inspections
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Help Us Serve You
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Q & A: Screening
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NEWS

Sequestration Budget Cuts Affect Voucher Program

The federal budget cuts known as sequestration are having a significant impact on Home Forward and its programs, including rent assistance. We receive at least 75 percent of our funding each year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This includes $55 million that we send directly to landlords to help your tenants pay their rent. Sequestration created a $5.3 million funding gap for us, most of which is rent assistance.

To avoid removing anyone from our programs, we are increasing rent payments slightly for our public housing residents and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) participants. With the rent changes, effective August 1, tenants will pay a larger portion of your rent and Home Forward a smaller amount. In addition, we are unable to increase our payment standards, which means the maximum amount of rent assistance we provide for a unit will remain the same for the foreseeable future. Static payment standards in a tight rental market like ours limit the units and locations available to our participants and will likely result in your tenants absorbing the full cost of landlord rent increases.

We are reducing costs in a number of other ways, including a voluntary lay-off and retirement program, pay freezes, and furlough days.  Home Forward offices will be closed on August 30 and October 18, the two furlough days for all staff.

Learn more about sequestration's impact on Home Forward

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OF INTEREST

A Shout Out to Landlords Helping Our Vets

We want to thank all of the landlords who have provided a home for veterans who are receiving VASH rent assistance.  HUD-VASH (Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Administration Supportive Housing) is a national program created to end homelessness for men and women who have served our country in the military.  In Multnomah County, we work in partnership with the Veterans Administration Medical Center to provide rent assistance and wrap around services.  We have recently been awarded another 55 VASH vouchers bringing the total number of vets we can serve to 360.

That's where you come in and can help our vets.  It takes willing landlords to make the program successful, as the veterans can have barriers to passing standard screening criteria.  More than 150 of you have answered the call.  Participating landlords are big and small, non-profit and for profit, and the homes they've provided are across Multnomah and Clackamas counties.

If you are interested in renting to a vet with a VASH voucher, or would like to advertise a rental unit, please contact our Landlord Services Team using the information in the blue box.

Learn more efforts to help veterans who need homes

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TIPS

Move Out Inspections

You can help other landlords if you request an exit inspection should a tenant with a Housing Choice Voucher leave damages above and beyond normal wear and tear.  We will document the damages, and the information will become a permanent part of the participant's file and may result in the loss of their housing assistance. 

In addition, if you are participating in the Landlord Guarantee Fund you may qualify for some of the cost of damage repair.

Call 503.802.8333, option 5, to request an exit inspection.

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Help Us Serve You

We are planning two landlord discussion groups this fall and would love to have you participate. We are committed to making all of our rent assistance program, including Housing Choice Vouchers, as landlord friendly as possible and need your thoughts on how  we can continue to improve.

Please contact our Landlord Services team using the information in the blue box if you can join us.

 

 
 
CONTACT
Speak with Home Forward’s
Landlord Services Team at
(503) 802-8333, option 6, or e-mail
landlordservices@homeforward.org.
 
PROFILE
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Short Term Assistance Bridges Gaps
Do you have a tenant or applicant in a financial bind? The Short Term Rent Assistance (STRA) program may be able to help. 

Home Forward administers STRA with funds from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, the City of Gresham, and Home Forward. Individuals and families can access these resources by calling 211info, which directs them to one or more of the 19 community agencies responsible for the direct assistance, which comes in several forms.

Here's how STRA helped one family:

Chris and Chrissy and their seven children struggled to find a place to live after they moved to Oregon. They found work that paid enough to cover rent and utilities but couldn't afford move-in costs and had to split the family up as they couch surfed.

Local non-profit JOIN worked with the family and the landlord community to find a house that was a perfect fit. STRA resources were used for a hotel voucher to reunite the family during their housing search, the security deposit, and the first month's rent. Chris and Chrissy and their children moved into their new home and have stayed connected to JOIN as they navigate life in Oregon.

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Q & A
Q: I just received an application from a Section 8 participant. How do I know if the applicant is a good renter?
We strongly encourage you to conduct a thorough screening of past rental history before renting to a participant in the Housing Choice Voucher program.

Q: Does Home Forward conduct screenings?
We only screen for the Housing Choice Voucher program, which involves screening for drug or violent criminal activity in the past three to five years.  Our screening does not include prior rental history or a credit check.

Q: Is there anything else you can provide?
We can provide you with the name and phone number of the applicant's previous landlord, enabling you to call them for a reference.

 

 

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