One of the biggest struggles in the State’s race to end Veteran Homelessness has been identifying landlords willing to give homeless Veterans a second chance. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that landlords who rent to Veterans currently listed on the Minnesota Homeless Veterans Registry could be eligible for a $1,000 incentive.
Communities and mayors from around the state, together with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) and partners, jointly committed to end Veteran homelessness statewide by the end of this year. As part of this commitment, in early 2015 the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and many community partners launched a statewide Homeless Veterans Registry focused on housing Veterans experiencing homelessness. Since that time more than 200 Veterans on the Registry have been housed. Still, there are over 148 Veterans on the Registry in the Twin Cities today. Although Veterans on the Registry have the income or assistance to pay for housing and maintain stability, one of the surprising struggles has been identifying landlords and available housing units.
“We are committed to bringing our Veterans ‘all the way home.’ The Twin Cities Metro area has an extremely tight rental market. In Minneapolis the vacancy rate is less than 3 percent. This incentive for our partners who own and manage rental property is intended to support their ability to take a chance on someone with a limited rental history and other potential barriers. The only way we can end Veteran homeless in Minnesota is to work together, and this program brings us one step closer to the finish line,” said MDVA Commissioner Larry Shellito.
This landlord incentive is mirrored off similar programs launched in New York City and the greater Denver areas earlier this year. In Minnesota the incentive is part of a larger initiative called Keys for Heroes, where Minnesota landlords can join a database to be considered for future rental opportunities. This program also highlights benefits of renting to a homeless Veteran, including guaranteed rent, tenant screening and working with a single point-of-contact or case manager.
Now through the end of January any landlord or property owner who signs at least a 12-month lease with a Veteran currently on the Registry is eligible for $1,000 lease-signing incentive, paid directly to the landlord or property owner. For a complete list of criteria and eligibility, and to learn more, please visit the Keys for Heroes Landlord Incentives Page.
“The goal of ending Veteran homelessness in Minnesota is within our reach,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal. “Let’s show our Veterans we support them as much as they’ve supported us. If you have available rental housing, please call the LinkVet line to help us reach this goal together.”
Landlords and property owners interested in joining this effort can indicate their interest in doing so by calling LinkVet (888-LinkVet or 888-546-5838) and indicating their interest in participating. LinkVet will collect basic information. Once a Veteran is identified, the Veteran or a staff person will reach out to the landlord.