➤ Landlords: Apply here!

Updated June 6, 2022

What is Move-In Multnomah? How will it help our community’s homelessness crisis right now?

To meet the urgent need for housing right now, Move-In Multnomah is scaling up an existing and successful collaborative approach that provides support and incentives to landlords who make housing units available to people coming out of homelessness.

One of the biggest obstacles people face when working to end their homelessness is finding a landlord willing to rent to them. We are always trying to innovate new ways to bridge that gap and increase the number of people who end their homelessness for good.

Housing people in apartments that are already available is much faster than only waiting for new affordable units to be built. And by offering additional pathways to housing, we can better address systemic bottlenecks that keep people stuck in shelters or on our sidewalks. 

Who can participate?

Any property owner with housing units (apartments, houses, or rooms) available for rent can participate in this program. The units do not need to be certified for low-income tenants or Section 8. 

What incentives are you offering landlords who participate?

  • Rent guarantee for up to 12 months (duration of lease)
  • Holding fees to cover rent for vacant units while a tenant is being secured
  • Hotline for housing providers to connect with tenant case managers if needed
  • Damage coverage: Resources to cover damages beyond the cost of the security deposit

What do landlords need to agree to in order to receive these incentives?

We are asking only that landlords be willing to provide available units at market rate, and reduce screening criteria that could be a barrier for tenants coming out of homelessness.

When will this program start?

Landlords were able to begin signing up as of April 14, and we will begin the process of connecting landlords with tenants. We used this initial “soft-launch” period to make any fine-tune adjustments before making a wider announcement later in April.

How long will these incentives be available?

For the time being, we are working on getting leases signed that will begin on May 1, June 1, or July 1. It is possible the program will extend beyond that, but this is what we are able to offer right now.

I have housing to offer! How can I sign up?

Just fill out the interest form as soon as possible. You can expect to hear from a representative of the Joint Office or a partner service provider within 3 to 5 business days to follow up with next steps.

Will tenants be provided with supportive services (employment assistance, financial classes, etc.)?

Yes! That is essential to this program and our housing work. Tenants involved in the program will be working with the same housing services providers that provide supportive services through our existing programs and case management systems.

What happens after a landlord fills out the application form?

Interested landlords are asked to complete the Application as soon as possible. 

This form asks for:

  • Landlord contact information 
  • A description of the available rental units
  • Information about screening criteria
  • Possible flexibilities with screening criteria

The Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) then reviews each application to make sure the home is authentic, the rent is reasonable, and that the landlord understands the intent of the program (providing housing for people experiencing homelessness). 

JOHS staff will communicate with landlords to clarify their applications and ensure the units remain available.

How are tenants and landlords connected?

Multnomah County has contract agreements with nonprofit homeless service providers who will work with the possible tenant and the landlord to secure a successful placement in the rental housing submitted by the landlord.

How are homeless service providers involved in this process?

Service providers work every day to support people experiencing homelessness to find and maintain appropriate and stable housing. These providers are always looking for new rental units for the people they are supporting, and they have a range of existing programs funded through the Joint Office to support people to get into housing. These tools include:

  • Move-in funding
  • Access to furniture and other household items
  • A range of rent assistance programs (short-term, medium-term or long-term depending on what the household needs and what is available)
  • A range of ongoing supportive services to assist the household once they have moved in.

How are the final rental/housing arrangements made?

Caseworkers from participating service providers will look at the Move-In Multnomah landlord list and identify housing opportunities that seem to be a good fit for the household they are supporting.

They will look at location, rent and screening criteria.  

Based on this information, the caseworker will then directly contact the landlord to begin the process of supporting a household to apply for the available rental unit.  

The caseworker can share information about the specific rent assistance and supportive services they will offer the household, and possible screening barriers. They may ask the landlord to change some of their screening criteria in exchange for receiving the Move-In Multnomah landlord incentives:

  • Rent guarantees for up to 12 months (duration of lease)
  • Holding fees to cover rent for vacant units while a tenant is being secured
  • A hotline for landlords to connect with tenant case managers if needed
  • Damage coverage: Resources to cover damages beyond the cost of the security deposit

The caseworker and landlord will come to an agreement on which (if any) screening criteria will be modified and which (if any) of the landlord incentives will be most effective in supporting the landlord with this tenancy.  

The household will then complete the landlord's application paperwork, the applicant or service provider will pay the application screening fee, and the landlord will conduct their screening process per usual with any modifications made.

The landlord and caseworker will complete the agreement paperwork for whichever Move-In Multnomah landlord incentives will be applied.  These agreements are between the landlord and the service provider, and confirm mutual expectations for making the different incentives effective.

Once an applicant has been approved, they will move in and become a tenant based on the terms of the landlord's rental agreement and house rules (if appropriate).  

The landlord, caseworker and tenant should remain in regular communication (using the hotline as needed) to ensure the tenancy is successful and to address any concerns, especially concerns that are covered by any of the above incentives.  

The expectation is that these tenancies will continue beyond the incentive coverage period, as long as the tenancy is successful and the tenant wishes to remain. Service providers may continue to work with the tenant as needed beyond the one year time period of this program.

Were property managers consulted about this program?

It is important to state that many landlords and property owners are already, currently, housing people who have exited homelessness and who are receiving support services from our providers. Those landlords and property owners may not know that, however, as it wasn’t a part of an initiative like this.

The project team for Move-In Multnomah met with Housing Oregon's policy team to review our proposals; that committee is made up of property owners and managers who operate affordable housing, predominantly nonprofit property owners. They face the same challenges as private market landlords, but often have higher numbers of higher-need renters with narrower financial margins if things go wrong.

We also met with the organizations that are doing housing placement work in the community. Those organizations are routinely addressing the issues that property owners/managers raise when asked to rent to people who have limited incomes and who struggle to meet screening criteria.

With their help, the tools were tailored to address those concerns.

Chair Deborah Kafoury’s Office also reached out to Multifamily NW directly, before the Move-In Multnomah initiative was publicly announced, to schedule time for a briefing and to share information with their members. Their director expressed interest in meeting, but they have not yet scheduled a meeting with us.

And on Tuesday, May 17, Chair Kafoury and Joint Office director Shannon Singleton also recorded an extensive HFO-TV Q&A webinar. HFO Investment Real Estate says it reaches "thousands of multifamily investor clients" with HFO-TV.

I don’t have property to offer. I need housing! How can I sign up?

This initiative is aimed at helping landlords identify and provide housing options. If you are a prospective tenant, and would like to sign up to be considered for housing, you will need to go through the Coordinated Entry process with a provider that is qualified through the Joint Office of Homeless Services. The best way to connect with a provider is to call 211 and explain your situation, and they will get you connected with a provider.

Won’t this drive up the cost of rent over time?

Rents have increased significantly over the past year in Portland. This program is coming online in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis. We need affordable, accessible housing at scale, and there’s more than one way to get there: 

  • We can build new housing that’s affordable from the start, which we’ve been doing, but it takes time. 
  • We can also make existing, vacant market-rate housing affordable simply by paying the rent for people, which can make a difference immediately.
  • This can be a win for everyone: People experiencing homelessness find a place to call homes of their own; landlords get a steady and reliable source of revenue while playing a direct role in alleviating this crisis.
  • Moving homeless people into housing that is already available at market rate is not what is driving up rents in the area.

How does this affect landlord obligations under the Fair Housing Act?

This incentive program does not supersede any state, federal or local regulations, including the Fair Housing Act. In setting up this program, County staff have been in communication with the City of Portland's Renters Services Office about Move-In Multnomah incentives and processes to help ensure we are not creating processes in conflict with the regulations. Providers have been doing housing placement work under FAIR for some time now, and Move-In Multnomah incentives do not change anything around these regulations and practices.

Landlords are able to offer tenants modified screening criteria under FAIR, in coordination with the non-profit providers that are providing case management and support for tenants. It is a landlord’s decision as to what, if any, screening criteria get adjusted. We continue to work with staff at the Renters Services Office to ensure compliance.

What happens after the one-year period is over?

This is a one-year incentive program for landlords, to help people stabilize into housing. Our statistics show that 75 - 80% of households are able to support themselves with rent after one year of support.

It’s helpful to differentiate between the Move-In Multnomah incentives and the range of rent assistance programs used to support people moving into housing. These rent assistance programs vary in durations, from several months, to a couple of years, to permanent/ongoing. These programs are a better predictor of what happens at 12 months.  MIM incentives are different: they are add-ons to the rent assistance programs to give landlords assurances that, for the first 12 months (or 18 months, for the Damage Fund) they will have some coverage should things not work out.

At the end of the MIM incentives, many tenants will continue to have some kind of rent assistance that can sustain their housing.  And tenants who have limited rent assistance (less than 12 months) the MIM incentives still provide the same assurance, and the service provider will be working with the tenant during their tenancy on a range of strategies and supports to help them remain in housing, including income acquisition, additional rent assistance supports, and so on.