A New Program in Bangor Hopes to Help the Homeless Find Rentals
The Landlord Liason project aims to encourage landlords to rent to people experiencing homelessness through financial and mediator support.
Why Does Bangor Need This Program?
Two things in Bangor are certain. First, the city has a huge homeless population and too many of them are facing a winter on the streets. And second, there's a housing shortage and that's contributing to a hike in the cost of rent and making it impossible for people experiencing homelessness to find a place to live. But, in addition to the financial challenges for potential renters, landlords are often reluctant to rent to these folks for a variety of reasons, including possible drug use, and damage caused by people with mental health issues.
How Does the Landlord Liaison Program Work?
So Community Health and Counseling Services has partnered with the City of Bangor to create the Landlord Liason. Supported by a grant from MaineHousing, the program will award financial assistance to landlords who agree to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness. The money is meant to eliminate these financial risks that the homeowners have identified as deterrents.
Effectively immediately, landlords in both Penobscot and Piscataquis counties who are interested in helping out by renting to members of the homeless population can apply for funding to address a variety of issues, including:
- Security deposits
- Application fees
- Installation of security systems
- Building improvement funding to meet voucher requirements
- Building risk mitigation to address damages.
In addition to the financial support, CHCS will also work as a point-of-contact for the landlords and intervene as necessary to address their concerns, as well as provide support to the tenant, when appropriate. In essence, working as a liaison to mitigate their concerns and challenges.