The above video is a presentation regarding the importance of engaging landlords and addressing various types of housing discrimination and barriers to accessing housing for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. To find out more information, and learn how you can help, please contact the Office of the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness at (808) 586-0193 or by e-mail at [email protected] and you will be connected to a housing program in your community.
On Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., a Virtual Information Session will be held in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Hawaii. To participate, please visit the link below on July 29th or call 808-586-0009 for more information:
Why is Landlord Engagement an important community issue?
Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be releasing 700,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) nationwide, including over-700 throughout Hawaii.
The number of EHVs anticipated for Hawaii include nearly-500 on the island of Oahu, administered by the City & County of Honolulu and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.
EHVs will be targeted to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, as well as recently homeless individuals and families or those at imminent risk of homelessness.
In addition to the EHVs, there are numerous other housing subsidy programs that are currently available, or expected to soon be available, in Hawaii – including the Oahu Housing Now program, Rapid Rehousing, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and vouchers through the Rent to Work program.
Collectively, EHVs and other housing subsidy programs could make a major impact on reducing homelessness statewide.
With the State eviction moratorium set to end in August 2021, there will be a need to engage landlords to assist individuals and families who may be displaced and in need of rehousing.
A shortage of landlords willing to accept available housing subsidies could be a large barriers that may result in millions of dollars in EHVs and other subsidies being unused or left on the table if we are unable to engage landlords in the critical work to end homelessness.
In addition, without the assistance of landlords stepping forward, many local families may not be able to secure new housing – despite available government resources available for rehousing efforts.
What are examples of some common barriers facing potential renters wanting to access EHVs or other housing subsidy programs?
A big challenge facing potential renters statewide is the wording in many rental listings that clearly state “No Section 8” or “No Vouchers.”
While advertisements prohibiting Section 8 and other housing subsidies are common, this practice is currently not illegal.
In addition, prohibitions against Section 8 and other housing subsidies often masks other forms of discrimination that are illegal, such as discrimination related to family composition, gender, sexual orientation, race, and other protected categories.
These practices exclude prospective tenants with housing vouchers from applying and being screened based on their tenancy qualifications like any other prospective tenant.
Is there support currently available to landlords that are willing to accept a housing subsidy?
Yes. Homeless service providers that offer Housing First or Rapid Rehousing assistance provide case management and other supportive services, including damage guarantees, for landlords who participate in their program. On Oahu, Partners in Care’s Landlord Engagement Program provides 24-hour phone line support, as well as other incentives to landlords to relax the application of screening criteria to participating households, ensuring that complaints and concerns will be responded to and providing assistance if a client damages a unit.
Advocate for changes in Hawaii law to implement policies prohibiting discrimination against those receiving housing subsidies – also known as Source of Income Discrimination – and advocate for Hawaii to join the over-11 states and over 50 cities and counties that have already enacted Source of Income discrimination laws.
Please also view the resources and articles below for more information about the need to partner with landlords to end homelessness in Hawaii, and about efforts to amend Hawaii’s laws to address Source of Income discrimination: