Presentation Minutes

  • Landlord Liaison Program -
  • Alexis Eykel, Associated Ministries -
  • Joe Lewis, Associated Ministries -
  • Tony Lewis – Associated Ministries -
  • The Landlord Liaison project is a program that incentives property owners and managers to rent to the County funded Rapid Rehousing Case Mangers.  The goal is for more affordable rental units to be available to the Pierce County Homeless system.
  • The property owners and managers must agree to relax their screening criteria.  Many Rapid Rehousing clients are denied rental units because of a criminal record, evictions or poor credit.
  • We accept most any type of rental, including single family homes, mobile homes, manufactured homes, chicken coops, rooms, apartments – everything (OK, I snuck chicken coops in, but maybe if they can pass inspection…)
  • Risk Mitigation fund – cover repair costs to property owners for damages above and beyond the deposit.
  • Overall steps – once the landlord and property management company says yes to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which includes relaxing the screening criteria, units are then made available to the project and are put them in the housing listing system.  From that system, RRH case managers can bring a client to select a unit.  We do an approval process and connect the client with the property partner. 
  • The process is:
    1. Client select property
    2. Service providers connects client with the property partner
    3. Application is presented (with the relaxed screening criteria)
    4. Client does a walk through
    5. Client Signs Lease
    6. Client moves in
  • If the landlord has issues, they can call a 24 hour hotline.  We do understand that the barriers to housing can resurface and cause issues for the landlord.  Landlord can contact us anytime.  We will call the case manager within the next business day to let them know what is happening.
  • We want to prevent evictions by being a link in the system. 
  • The Project can also put $1000 towards costs for both sides of the equation to negotiate issues between a tenant and a landlord. 
  • Incentives offered to landlords:
    • Quickly find tenants, so no need to advertise unit and get a reduction in the vacancy rate.
    • 24-hour exclusive support hotline
    • Access to Project risk mitigation funds
    • Access to resources, tools and education  - want stronger, better tenants and landlords.
    • Tenants with access to renter readiness classes and community resources
    • Per diem rate paid for vacant unit. 
  • Protections for property partners:
    • Goal is to resolve issues before they cause damage
    • Risk management funds cover up to $2,000 for single unit and $3,000 for a multi-bedroom. 
    • Funding for tenant issue resolution/formal mediation
    • Property Partners protected from losses from a vacant for up to 30 days
    • Advance Rental concession – up to $1,200 to meet income requirements.
    • If legal issues or eviction, will cover up to $1,000
    • Can do more for properties in the City of Tacoma.
  • Expectations of property partners:
    • They have access to state funding – we cover what the state doesn’t cover.  The state will provide $5,000, with $2,000-$3,000 from this Project for other coverages.  State funds once required that the landlord have a court case pending prior to getting access to funds – that is no longer necessary. 
  • Very proactive in working with property partners and service providers
  • RRH enrollments can last different time periods – the landlord protections last only as long as they are in the RRH program.   
  • LLP does not manage property.  We are looking at providing resources to get screenings done earlier.  The Project doesn’t do screening , shelter, housing , or rental assistance (although we have some flexible funds). 
  • Maureen – Thanks for bringing this today.  When you are negotiation with  a potential property partner, area there any restrictions on the leases.  Some leases are legal, but can have escalating rent clauses, which often won’t keep a low-income person housed.  Alexis – we are going for large property management companies – and we can’t have any control over their leases – it is completely up to them.
  • Baby Bear – are there any protections for property owners when squatters damage property –asking for a friend.  Alexis – no, the property owner has to be part of the program and the renter has to be a Rapid Rehousing Client.  If the renter was a Rapid Rehousing client who found the unit through the program, and the house was, say blown in, then it would be covered.  (it is possible I just made this question up. –ed)
  • Question – for property owners to become property partners – what awareness are you creating about this program?  Alexis – we do social media outreach, and we will go out and do a presentation for anyone.  We did just launch on Monday
  • Patricia – you are using apartments, houses?  Joe – will do rooms or single family homes, too.  Patricia – do you work with shared housing services?  It is a daunting application for someone to rent a room through that program.  Alexis – not everyone can afford a house – a room might be a good thing.  We have a listing database.  Shared Housing has a waitlist, so not a resource for housing folks right away. 
  • Al – you mentioned that the unit have to be inspected – how long does that take?  It can take from 2-5 days after the property is identified. 
  • Al – what is the difference between regular and relaxed screening?  Most screenings won’t allow credit under 600 or clients with evictions – relaxed screening allow that (I thought relaxed screenings were like a regular screening, but will open up around the thighs, providing extra room from the waist to the knee, with a the calf of the relaxed screen either widening towards the bottom or staying straight and coming down, depending on the brand of screening - perfect for both comfort and play. –ed.)
  • Al – do you serve youth under 18?  Alexis - yes we serve everybody. (I was going to be an insufferable know-it-all and tell you that Rapid Rehousing can’t serve unaccompanied minors, but then someone clarified the point and I lost my chance. These moments mean a lot to me - I wish you all wouldn’t ruin them by knowing what you are talking about.  –ed.  ).
  • Theresa – I’d recommend you make the criteria for the landlords – it is important to help screen and give good leases – it is not ok if it is predatory.  All landlords should agree on a single tool for – portable screening criteria.  Alexis - landlords can choose to use a common screening criteria or not.  Theresa – I’d recommend only working with landlords that use that.  Alexis – thank you very much.  RRH programs have funding for the screenings.  I hate slumlords.  I want to do a huge systems change, but we need the landlords right now, so can’t demand everything.  We will do what we can.
  • Question – do you work with people with criminal backgrounds.  Joe – we work with everyone.  I work with the property managers and work with them to adjust their screening criteria  - to show that we have resources – dollars – to repair any damages and cover vacant rental time.  Landlords are willing to work with us with relaxed screening because of those funding resources. 
  • Maureen – I’d like to follow up to your response. There are Housing Quality Standards (HQS) – I suggest you frame the other part of the programs going forward as a landlord code of conduct -  there are international precedents and you can find them in other states – someplace we can address some of these egregious activities. 
  • Landlords can’t discriminate against convicted sex offenders (I think this might be a bit more nuanced. –ed.)    
  • There are three funding sources for mitigation funding – the State mitigation fund – a new Pierce County mitigation risk funds – and a Tacoma risk mitigation fund.
  • James – is there an opportunity to help agencies without Rapid Rehousing programs to find willing landlords?  Alexis – Pierce County is our major funder, and we are only able to support Pierce County supported Rapid Rehousing programs. 
  • Joe – we do want you to come to us with the need so we can build a case for more folks to use our services, though. 
  • Marybeth – this funding is just to pay for damages and that is it?  Alexis – the pierce county risk mitigation fund – damages, mediation, vacancy loss, advance rental concessions – where we can help clients meet income eligibility by providing up to $100 per month towards participants’ rent for up to a year. 
  • Al – I’m curious if you’ve thought about working with the two housing authorities.  Alexis – we are partnering with them and working with them.  They have landlord liaisons as well. 
  • Sammy – This is incredible – I’m so excited about this and realize it is limited with just Rapid Rehousing – but it looks like this project has all the bells and whistles missing from the previous program.  Alexis – this program is a dream for me.
  • There are landlord liaison projects embedded in the Tacoma Housing Authority and the Pierce County Housing Authority.  Are you following their model?  Alexis – ours is unique.  The Housing Authority programs work with their own landlords.  We are looking to fill in the gaps and work together. 
  • Tony - This program is a bridge between case managers and landlords. 
  • James – the state’s risk mitigation fund is available to anyone with rent assistance.  Full info at  
  • Al – do you have measures of success?  Have you considered using the same indicators of success?  Alexis -  The other programs like ours are in Atlanta.  Our measures of success are 30 clients getting into housing through this program.  We have our own measurements of success.  Al - it would be good if all the Landlord Liaison programs had a similar measure of success. 
  • James – unit needs to be in Pierce County, but if you are a landlord or have a room to rent, you can contact the Landlord Liaison Program.
  • Launch party - October 18th -4-6pm save the date flyers.  – please RSVP
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