PROVIDENCE, RI – The statewide “Landlord Challenge” has helped more than 100 Rhode Island households experiencing homelessness or other forms of housing insecurity secure safe, permanent housing since its launch last summer, and Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Department of Housing and Amos House are seeking to build on that success with additional participation ahead of the winter months.
The Landlord Challenge is an incentive program that offers financial incentives to property owners who agree to provide available rental units to Rhode Islanders in need of housing. Participating landlords who offer safe, habitable and rent-reasonable units for one-year leases will receive a $3,000 signing bonus for the first unit, and $1,000 bonuses for each additional unit with most households also having a housing subsidy that helps pay the ongoing rent. Up to $3,000 per unit is available for reimbursement for necessary repairs.
“We have made great progress in helping many individuals and families experiencing homelessness find and secure permanent housing, but our work is far from over,” said Governor Dan McKee. “There are still more Rhode Islanders in need of a safe place to call home, and the rental market remains tight. This proven program offers landlords competitive cash incentives and a source of rental income that may be full or partially subsidized while addressing a crucial need in our state.”
Since the statewide Landlord Challenge was issued in summer of 2021, a total of 102 units have been utilized to help permanently house Rhode Islanders in need. Fifty-one of those units have been utilized in 2022. Program funding for incentives comes from the State Office of Housing and Community Development.
Program partners include Governor Dan McKee, Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal, and Amos House, who are working to jointly raise awareness of the program with landlords. While program partners are seeking participating units of all sizes, in all areas of Rhode Island, there is currently a significant need for studio and one-bedroom apartments in East Providence, Warwick, Woonsocket, and on Aquidneck Island.
“Everything starts with housing,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal. “A permanent, reliable place to come home to gives vulnerable Rhode Islanders the security they need to establish routines; go to work and school; pay the bills; and create stable lives for themselves and their families. As we undertake significant actions to create better housing for Rhode Islanders, it is imperative we act now to address the immediate problem of homelessness. Increasing participation in the Landlord Challenge, which creates mutually beneficial opportunities for property owners and tenants alike, is a key step towards that goal.”
“Hotel shelters are not a long-term solution to homelessness,” said Eileen Hayes, president and CEO of Amos House. “This effort seeks to provide a more permanent solution by engaging landlords and matching their available rental units to individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness. With the financial incentives available, and rent, this program is a win-win for families and individuals needing housing, landlords with available units and our state.”
“The landlord incentive program was truly great in helping me find a tenant of my choosing and also helping me each step of the way in making sure all paperwork was filled out correctly and that I received the support I needed as a landlord,” said Geno Desrosiers, a participating landlord. “Everything was done well in a timely fashion, and I didn’t have to worry about anything, I would recommend this program to all landlords.”
“I am glad to participate in the landlord incentive program. It is a pleasure to work alongside the State and Amos House to provide families with a safe environment to live,” said Marisol Figueroa, another participating landlord. “This program is a great opportunity for landlords who can utilize both the incentive and the reimbursement for needed repairs. This came at a perfect time for me, and I encourage other landlords to explore it for themselves.”