Field Notes: Four Things SSVF Providers Can Do Now To Recruit Landlords

written by Kay Moshier McDivitt
November 13, 2013

For people experiencing homelessness, getting landlords to rent to them can be very challenging, particularly for those with poor rental histories.

At a Rapid Re-Housing Clinic I recently conducted for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) programs, many providers admitted they had not thought strategically about how to engage landlords. In many cases, they had been providing clients with lists of potential landlords, and then asking them to call back once they found someone who agreed to rent to them.

Without landlords and available rental units, rapid re-housing just doesn’t work. So most of these providers wanted more information on how to develop the kind of robust housing search and landlord engagement component they need to overcome the barriers their clients face. 

If your program is trying to develop its housing search and landlord engagement component, here are a couple of pointers to get you started:

  1. Develop a plan for recruiting landlords. Have your staff take some time to develop a list of ways to engage landlords.
  2. Identify what incentives your program can provide when recruiting landlords. This can include your follow-up case management, the financial assistance, and your ability to help fill their units quickly.
  3. Identify who on your staff will take the responsibility for housing search and landlord recruitment. Some programs have each staff member take on this responsibility, while other programs identify one position that is responsible for conducting the housing search and landlord recruitment activities. 
  4. Make sure that housing search and landlord engagement is an ongoing process. Don’t wait to recruit landlords until the person needing housing is in front of you. Successful rapid re-housing providers have a list of landlord partners that they can contact as soon as a new client enrolls in the program.

Building landlord relationships takes time and experience. Whether you are a seasoned rapid re-housing provider, or a new SSVF grantee, it’s essential that you keep in mind the importance of the role of housing location and the tools to develop partnerships.

You can find more information and landlord recruitment activities by viewing the Housing Search, Location and Landlords Module.