Press conference 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9, 2012
Multnomah County Building, 501 SE Hawthorne, Suite 600
Veteran and area housing advocates are asking landlords to consider renting to former U.S. service members who have been sleeping on the street.
“We have the funding for rent and the means to get vets help, but only if they can find an apartment to rent,” said Commissioner Deborah Kafoury. "In this incredibly tight rental market, we need landlords to take a chance on a vet."
In Multnomah County in 2011, 464 former U.S. military members were tallied during the bi-annual homeless street count. The U S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched an initiative to end homelessness among veterans. Federal agencies have a program to help with rent assistance and supportive services so veterans can rebuild their lives.
But until now, VA case managers lacked the flexibility to use the money for critical steps such as to cover renter’s application fees. This week, Multnomah County, the city of Portland, Home Forward and United Way of the Columbia Willamette stepped up, providing $10,000 each to streamline the renting process and pay for uncovered needs such as furniture and transportation to get veterans into homes.
“Now we just need the landlords,’’ said Commissioner Diane McKeel.
On Friday, Commissioners McKeel and Kafoury will join Eileen Devine of the VA; Zeke Smith, Chief Impact Officer, United Way of Columbia Willamette; Jill Riddle, Home Forward; Jill Keoppel of Income Property Management; Deborah Imse, Metro Multifamily Housing Association, Marc Jolin, Executive Director, JOIN; and Commissioner Nick Fish in asking for residents help in renting to veterans.