Reducing risk and uncertainty for Housing Providers through partnership and innovation
Increased restrictions, risk and stigma for Washington Housing Providers has, without a doubt, cast a shadow of lingering uncertainty, divide and misunderstanding upon our common vision of having healthy, thriving communities.
These challenges make it more difficult for families and individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness and seeking a second chance at housing.
While we can all agree that long term prosperity and equity can grow and advance through the development of more affordable housing, the reality is that it can’t be built fast enough. And as we work to build that housing, there are thousands of families and individuals experiencing homelessness who can’t wait and need homes today.
As a result of an innovative collaboration of community members from the corporate, academic, and nonprofit sectors, Housing Connector was formed with the belief that no unit should sit vacant while there are people in need of a home.
Housing Connector partners with property owners and managers to increase access to housing while reducing risk, addressing their four biggest needs (filling vacancies, ensuring rent is paid, asset protection, and healthy and safe communities), and taking the uncertainty out of the equation with a benefits package that makes it easy to rent to people exiting homelessness. These benefits include free referrals to ready-to-rent residents, financial support, a single point of contact for customer service, and guaranteed one year of housing stability support from a community partner to ensure the households stay stably housed.
In addition, Housing Connector has partnered with Zillow to develop functionality within Zillow.com that allows a property owner to list their units and manage inventory for free, while also receiving direct leads from Housing Connector partners.
But, does it work?
At the official Zillow Tool launch in February 2020, Housing Connector was working with 35 Housing Providers and 42 non-profit service providers in Seattle and King County and had housed a little over 450 individuals. Fast forward to June 2021, the results speak for themselves:
- 1,800+ individuals housed
- 96% retention rate
- 750+ Properties in Partnership (accounting for 35,000+ units)
- 77 service provider Community Partners
- Expansion to Pierce County: July 2021
With this impact in place, we believe the time is right to expand our support beyond King County and are thrilled to have been awarded with funding to expand in Pierce County.
Having established partnership with 218 properties accounting for 1,785 units, we’ve been able to help house 44 individuals in Pierce County to date, and this is just the beginning. We are focusing on increasing the number of Pierce County Housing Providers to take part in and benefit from our Program’s support, ultimately resulting in increasing their occupancy rates and more individuals and families receiving the basic need of housing.
We encourage all Pierce County Housing Providers to attend our Lunch and Learn with Housing Connector for an overview of our Program and Q & A Session on July 23, at 1pm. Register here for the event!
As we share some of these key accomplishments, we’d like to express our gratitude to industry partners, such as RHAWA, who work tirelessly to provide support, education, and advocacy to Housing Providers in our region. Without them, we would not be where we are today, working towards progress in building up our communities one day at a time.