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Program Encourages Boston Landlords To Rent To People Who Are Homeless And Have Rental Vouchers

There's a new incentive for landlords in Boston to rent to people who are homeless and have rental assistance vouchers from Boston Housing Authority: BHA is offering landlords a bonus of one month's rent.

The funding comes from the CARES Act — the federal stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

About 400 voucher-holding families are living in shelters while searching for apartments, said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett.

"The work to de-densify the shelters ... the work to make sure that families are not at risk in shelter during this health crisis is directly connected to these efforts to get these families housed," Bennett said.

The landlord initiative comes as the housing authority recently initiated a program with Boston Public Schools to house students in the school system who are homeless. BHA committed to housing up to 1,000 of those students' families, either with vouchers or in its public housing developments.

The new incentive program also applies to landlords who rent to individuals experiencing homelessness who have Section 8 vouchers from BHA.

Some property owners are helping with the efforts, according to the housing authority.

"I think the pandemic in general is a situation where, particularly, affordable housing providers are sensitive to the needs out there, and so are really stepping up to try to expand their efforts to house folks coming out of shelter," Bennett said.

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Lynn Jolicoeur Twitter Producer/Reporter
Lynn Jolicoeur is the field producer for WBUR's All Things Considered. She also reports for the station's various local news broadcasts.

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