NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – Every night, hundreds of people in Nashville sleep rough.
The city has spent thousands of dollars getting people into and out of encampments, and now it’s asking landlords for flexibility and help, too.
“We ask that credit is never denied for any of our customers. We understand that people have been through hard times and believe in second chances,” said Lizzie Goddard of the Metro Homeless Impact Division.
Already more than 100 owners have agreed to participate in the Low Barrier Housing Collective. A soft launch of the program deployed in May. Landlords are urged to look beyond things like bad credit, past evictions, minor criminal offenses and low income status.
Whispering Oaks Apartments off Harding Place is involved in the scheme. They say they are proud to offer apartments to people who might be turned away elsewhere.
“We’ve had people who, once settled, got great jobs, reunited with their families – all benefits that help a person become a contributing member of society,” said Alexis Lewis of Enfield Management. which operates Whispering Oaks.
Landlords involved in the Low Barrier Housing Collective are rewarded for considering applications from homeless people. Incentives include a bonus for renting five units and $2,000 to cover rent if a lease has to be terminated.
“I think financial incentives are wonderful. Sometimes I think people worry about whether my apartment is damaged? What if there are things like that? So there are financial incentives in place to address that. some of those concerns,” Lewis says.
Metro Nashville is using $500,000 of US bailout funding to pay for the incentives.
“Homeless people apply for the same housing as anyone on a low income. This is why we have put in place incentives to say: these are our most vulnerable. How do we get to where they have a chance of getting into those units even with some of their experience? said Godard.