The city of La Crosse is reaching out to landlords with sort of an insurance plan if they rent to anyone who is homeless and working with a case manager.
It’s being called the Landlord Mitigation Program (LMP).
A few weeks ago, La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds identified buildings throughout La Crosse that could be used to house the unsheltered.
During that news conference, however, Reynolds also called on property owners to consider taking in the unsheltered.
The LMP could help encourage that by providing up to $5,000 if a landlord’s unit is damaged or rent/fees accumulate. The program will go on for two years.
“The funds are designed to reduce the risk to a landlord who agrees to rent to a client who may have a poor rental history and/or other barriers that may traditionally be considered grounds to decline a rental application,” a letter from La Crosse Homeless Coordinator Brian Sampson stated.
The program consists of three groups: landlords, service providers and clients.
Service providers — agencies that serve the unsheltered — would sign on through what’s being called the “Landlord Partnership Agreement.” Some services providers could offer include developing goals with clients, offering ongoing support services, communicating with landlords and meeting with clients on a monthly basis (at a minimum).
Clients who sign on would agree to work with service providers for two years. If they refuse at any point, landlord can terminate the lease agreement.
“Service providers work with eligible clients to register them in the program and agree to provide a minimum requirement of case management services for two years,” Sampson’s letter adds. “Landlords retain all of their legal rights by signing up for this program and maintain the autonomy of deciding who to rent what properties to.”
Only landlords in the city are eligible, as long as they’re willing to offer any available units to an individual or family on the eligibility list, the city stated.
The program is funded with support from the Johns Flaherty Collins Michael Stoke Memorial, June Kjome Justice & Peace, and Community Giving funds of the La Crosse Community Foundation.
Most homeless people in the city have been staying at Houska Park near downtown, after the city deemed it a campground last spring. That plan, however, ends Oct. 31. And, unlike last year, the city will not be providing funds for homeless to stay again at a north side motel.