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Housing and Community Services

Posted on: December 3, 2019

Funding, Incentives Approved for Housing First

Rent - NF

On November 19th, the Santa Rosa City Council approved funding for the first owner-participation incentive for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Council directed staff to expand access to the Housing First risk mitigation pool as a parallel measure to the Housing Anti-Discrimination Ordinance adopted in October. Santa Rosa’s Housing Anti-Discrimination Ordinance (Chapter 10-46 of the Santa Rosa City Code) prohibits property owners from refusing to rent to applicants based on their use of a Housing Choice Voucher or other government-funded rental assistance and is similar to legislation passed at the State level for 2020 and in more than 10 other jurisdictions throughout California. Council coupled the two actions as part of a comprehensive approach to increasing housing opportunities for people using rental assistance programs. The risk mitigation program in the Housing First fund provides reimbursement to owners in the event a low-income tenant participating in a rental assistance program leaves the property with unpaid damages. Prior to the November 19th action, the Housing First risk mitigation funds were limited to persons experiencing homelessness. The Housing First Fund is administered by Catholic Charities’ Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), a street outreach team that works to engage persons who are experiencing homelessness and living in unsheltered conditions into services, shelter, and housing as part of the Housing First model. In addition to risk mitigation, the Housing First Fund provides leasing bonuses to property owners and financial assistance to tenants, including security deposits and rental payments.

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