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Tue Aug 16, 2016, 05:07 AM

Anchorage 'landlord liaison' pitches program to encourage landlords to house the homeless

Andy Mergens isn't a salesman but he's spent the past few weeks calling Anchorage landlords and property managers to make a pitch.

He first identifies himself as the city's new "landlord liaison." Then the pitch: Private landlords should relax screening criteria and consider renting to tenants who may have multiple evictions, bad credit, criminal records or spotty job histories as well as mental health or substance abuse problems.

In return, the landlord will have access to a 24-hour help hotline. Case managers and agencies can help if problems arise, like late rent payments. If there's damage, the landlord can be reimbursed.

Modeled after a successful approach in Seattle's King County, Washington, Anchorage's Landlord Liaison Program is being launched by the administration of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, United Way and other social services agencies. The program, which is also being replicated in other U.S. cities, fits into a broader Anchorage effort to move people out of tent camps and emergency shelters and into subsidized apartments with access to a net of services.

Read more: http://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2016/08/15/anchorage-landlord-liasion-pitches-program-to-encourage-landlords-to-house-the-homeless/

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