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Do you think landlords would accept homeless people as tenants if they had financial support from the city?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on January 11, 2005

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Photo of Curtis Martell

“Maybe. Renting is already a financial risk with tenants as it is. There would have to be an absolute guarantee that the rent would be paid.”

Photo of Eric Haar

“The government should not be in the business of using tax dollars to pay people’s rent.”

Photo of Evelina Forte

“I hope so. I think everyone needs a chance, especially homeless people. If the landlords are being compensated, they should help out the community.”

Photo of Shira Flescher

“In a perfect world, I would like to think that people would be gracious enough to accommodate others, but I think it would definitely depend on the circumstances.”


ssauble 13 years, 4 months ago

Tell it to the preacher with a big fat cigar and a mercedes who almost ran me over the other day.

Charlie Bannister 13 years, 4 months ago

God I am so tired of people and their bleeding hearts when it comes to homeless individuals. When I was 30 years old I found myself homeless for two weeks in the dead of winter. This was many years ago. What got me back on my feet was an unending stubborness to succeed in life and not let others who wanted to see me fail have the last laugh. I am the one laughing now, all the way to the bank. This came about through hard work, perseverance, and doing things I maybe did not like to do in a job so that my life could improve. The problem with most homeless, as I found out over 20 years ago when I was involved with law enforcement, is that they have one or more vices that they refuse to let go of. Alcohol and/or drug use are the most common problems that they have. Then there are a few who are just plain lazy. Before I am attacked by you liberals out there, let me just say that there are legitimate problems that some folks have, through no fault of their own, that renders them homeless. However, that is the exception, not the rule. I know, because I have been there and done that.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 4 months ago

Those who were booted into the street after closing down certain institutions and who still need trearment I say let's bring in Bert Nash, give these people housing,clothing and food. Some who are able to work some as community volunteers let's give them something to do. This would be less expensive than placing them in LMH or jail.

Obviously this is a better plan in general than having them wandering around the neighborhoods and downtown.

There will probaly be a few who will not cooperate with any plan.

DaREEKKU 13 years, 4 months ago

Okay, are you kidding me??? THe uptight landlords in this town won't even let me have CATS in many of the apartments I have looked at, do you think they are going to let somebody although in great need who doesn't have a job in an apartment?? Probably not. I'm not comparing a person to a cat, I am merely pointing out that these people here are pretty stringent as it is.

Redneckgal 13 years, 4 months ago

I think if the homeless person is working and trying than by all means they deserve help. Because in a lot of cases it may just be a matter of not being able to come up with the first months rent plus the deposits to get moved into a new place. Thats hard for anyone to come up with. However is they refuse to work are unruly and have crimanal records I would have to say no.

jayhawk16 13 years, 4 months ago

The government already helps those in need. It's called SRS and HUD. Why should the tax payers keep footing the bill for everyone else. In many cases the homeless are addicted to that lifestyle and will end up right back on the street. Helping them to find and maintain employment is a better option.

PigFarmer 13 years, 4 months ago

As long as there is a large security deposit.

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

I would have to give this question a huge resounding... NO. Whenever somebody doesn't have to pay for something they are less likely to take care of it and that would be what would happen. Maybe the homeless person gets a handout and has a place to live and gets back on their feet and moves out. Who is stuck with the bill for all the clean up that would happen after that? We all know that the city wouldn't take care of it. I have personally seen and cleaned up after people when they moved out of apartments that they didn't take care of and they were paying to live there. I would hate to see what the place would look like if they didn't have to pay for the damages, and might I remind everybody that that is what the deposits are for. The landlords deserve to have something as security. A big NO for this one, too much possible expenses that the landlords would have to pay. If the city thinks it is such a good deal and idea, then why don't they build an apartment building and let the homeless live in it for free? Then the city could take advantage of tax benefits and also be responsible for all the cleaning and upkeep.

remember_username 13 years, 4 months ago

I live in a complex that I thought, because of it's high price, would not cater to college students. I was wrong. Thus, I have some experience with the habits of the student crowd. It's not all the students but all it takes is one or two apartments in a building to ruin it for the rest. I have talked to the managers about the problem and have discovered that it's all about the money.

Therefore, as long as the city will guarantee the rent landlords will not care who rents. However, the city will have to fork over a large security deposit because Landlords will use the perception that homeless people are more discructive to collect more money.

I am certain that the homeless would be better neighbors than the students so I'm all for it. But I'm also certain that the city can't afford to pay the rent.

artwhore 13 years, 4 months ago

what about section 8 isn't that government subsidized housing? why must the CITY get involved where the Feds and Charity groups already do the work.

remember the "Lost Boys" who came over en-mass and relocated throughout the US. they were all given guaranteed housing, I believe financed through charity.

badger 13 years, 4 months ago

It appears, after reading the article, that the city will be providing the deposit and guaranteeing that fees and damages in the event of an eviction will be paid.

It doesn't look like the city will be simply paying people's rent so they have a place to live.

I'm ambivalent on this one. The deposit issue, I'm actually thinking is not a bad idea, because the barrier to finding a place to live can be the high financial outlay needed to get a foot in the door, not the month-to-month rent.

However, I'm not so sure on the rest of it. If landlords want to rent to people with a 'past', then I applaud them for being willing to help people overcome prior mistakes. I'm not sure it's the city's business to encourage them with financial commitment when other areas are underfunded. Many landlords will take a chance on someone so long as he has the deposit. My landlord agreed to rent to a friend of mine on my recommendation though he had been evicted from his last place. He was honest with the landlord about it, and had his deposit and first month's rent in full, so they said OK. He's been a model tenant since, because he really appreciates that they didn't have to take that chance.

Perhaps the shelters themselves could set up a referral program, and based on counseling sessions and knowledge of the people's situation and motivations, they could refer people to landlords, and renters could apply for a city grant/loan program to pay off the deposit - reimbursable by community service at those same shelters, attendance at weekly or monthly checkins to make sure they were staying on track, or simply being financially paid back over time.

That would mean that the city would be helping people get a start but not taking on the liability if they skipped. The landlords would have to be willing to take a chance, but if they received bad referrals from one shelter or another, then they could simply say, "I'm sorry, your recommendations aren't good," without being bound to agree to participation in some program.

There's a perception that landlords are all greedy slumlords, and I don't think that's true. I think very much that if they can, they'll try to help someone, because as my landlord said to my friend, "We understand that sometimes stuff happens, and everyone needs a place to live, so we try to be understanding."

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 13 years, 4 months ago

I'd say NO to that one. When I was growing up, my dad had a multi-unit house that he rented out to people in a bad neighborhood. They never left the place in decent condition when they moved out. He'd find syringes on the floor, and one family even ripped out all the kitchen cabinets and presumably sold them before they left. If a tenant isn't able to supply decent references, pass a criminal background check, and pass a credit check, they'd never set foot in any house that I had to rent.

Anne Bracker 13 years, 4 months ago

There are several agencies that provide assistance to people experiencing homelessness. Case managers from those agencies work with individuals to find employment, housing, and counseling (either mental health or addiction counseling or both, depending on need). These case managers monitor the progress of the individuals very closely to verify that the individual is actively working toward getting off the streets. It is these types of people who would be eligible for the financial support discussed here. Case managers would continue to work with the individual to establish budgets and provide additional services as needed. Any individual would also have to comply with the requirements a landlord has for tenants. This financial support would be a critical asset in moving people from homelessness to becoming responsible, gainfully employed, taxpaying citizens.

Jayhawk226 13 years, 4 months ago

perhaps lawrence can rent out some space on those roundabouts they love...

...looks to be perfect for a one bedroom shanty

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

Sorry goatdog, but the church is not a welfare agency.

kansas 13 years, 4 months ago

I still think Lawrence should have bought the Eldridge Hotel on Mass. St. and turned it into a giant homeless hotel/shelter! Geez! Lawrence sure missed the boat on that one!

acg 13 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you Craigers. When you give someone something for nothing, they're less likely to take care of it as if they had worked hard for it themselves. Case in point every slum and project in the big cities. Those were built mainly in the 50's to 70's. That's not that old. But look at the condition that they're in. They were handed to those low income people and were destroyed. I'm sorry but alot of our homeless are lazy folk. Sure there are those that are genuinely down on their luck but a lot of them don't want to be part of a society that requires them to keep a job, pay taxes, pay bills on time, etc. Hard truths, but truths no doubt.

ssauble 13 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, ACG, like that time when the CIA trafficed drugs into low income communities?

Hard truths!

Liberty 13 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the City of Lawrence has so much of the peoples' money that they don't know what to do with all of it?

Maybe if they gave it back to the people of Lawrence, the people of Lawrence would have the money so they could take it upon themselves to care for the homeless people that they know and the Churches of Lawrence could combine their efforts to work together, with the help of the people of Lawrence to make a housing shelter to take care of those that are less fortunate and help them get back on their feet.

The Churches could fashion their shelter like the City Union Mission in Kansas City which has a long successful track record.

The Churches don't help the homeless because they are tax exempt.

Churches have always been free from taxes in this country so they would be free from the power of the State and operate freely from it using the First Amendment Right to guide government in a moral and righteous direction. (At least until the Churches decided to incorporate and become a business under the political speech control of a 501c3 IRS classification).

ms_canada 13 years, 4 months ago

As the wife of a landlord, I make an observation on this subject. The apartments that we own are all unfurnished. Suppose our city decided to instutute a scheme such as is proposed there. The rent on one of our 1 bedroom units is $525. The damage deposit is $400. Fine, the city would pay that to us and then what about furniture? A homeless person would not likely have any. So that would be another outlay for the city. In this city most homeless do not have steady jobs. For a working homeless person, I can see the city doing something on a temporary basis, but it could not possibly be a permanent deal. We do have homeless shelters run by churches in my city. But on really cold nites, like tonite, (40 below C.) the shelters are not enough, so, the underground subway stations are opened and people are allowed to bed down there. They are heated. I don't know how many homeless people we have in our city but I suspect there are quite a few, but then this is a rather large city. I suspect that most homeless people are those with many problems both mental and physical. They are to be greatly sympathized with. Do any of you think that they can possibly be happy in their situation. Alcoholics and drug users are not really happy, normal people and deserve our care and concern.

ms_canada 13 years, 4 months ago

Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, etc. etc." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and fed you, etc." The King will reply, " I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers, you did for me." Matt. 25:35-40.

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