Having an Affordable and Safe Place to Live: How Housing Vouchers Help End Homelessness

Having an affordable, stable, and secure place to call home is vital to an individual’s overall health and wellbeing. The benefits of having a good place to live go beyond just shelter, as it can help reduce the risk of violence, abuse, and theft that unhoused individuals are often exposed to on the streets. It also reduces exposure to a range of health risks, including exposure to extreme weather conditions, lack of access to basic hygiene facilities, and increased risk of contracting contagious diseases. In addition to the physical benefits, having a good place to live also helps individuals connect to communities, and gain access to education and employment opportunities, which helps them break the cycle of poverty and isolation.  


Unfortunately, the rising cost of housing is a significant barrier for individuals experiencing homelessness. Homelessness is a significant issue in Arizona, with over 9,000 people just in Maricopa County unhoused on any given night.  


As a Housing Programs Administrator, HOM works with landlords to end homelessness for individuals and families through two housing program models: Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing. These housing assistance programs provide permanent, affordable, and supportive housing solutions to thousands of Arizonans each month. Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing provide rental assistance and supportive services to vulnerable populations and families experiencing homelessness and housing instability. This assistance covers all or a portion of the rent, making it easier for individuals to afford decent housing in the private market. 


Increasing the number of landlords who accept housing assistance programs helps provide more affordable housing options and reduce homelessness. Through outreach and education efforts by the centralized network of resources and support for landlords called Threshold, operated by HOM, landlords are increasingly opening their doors to housing assistance programs. Threshold provides resources for landlords to operate profitable and well-maintained properties while providing housing for the people in our community that need it. Many landlords may not be aware of the benefits of accepting these housing programs, such as a guaranteed stream of rental income and lower vacancy rates. Additionally, offering incentives to landlords can help increase acceptance rates. The Threshold program offers financial incentives, such as damage and vacancy loss protection, signing bonuses, and dedicated support and technical assistance to landlords who accept housing programs. By addressing the concerns and challenges that landlords have in accepting housing assistance, Threshold bolsters housing programs to make them even more attractive and increases the number of housing opportunities for those in need. 


Finally, policy and legal changes are being implemented locally and nationally to make it easier for landlords to participate in housing assistance and voucher programs. For example, Phoenix and Tucson recently implemented Source of Income Discrimination ordinances which make it illegal to deny tenancy based on an applicant’s source of income for paying the rent, including rental assistance or housing voucher. Prior to these ordinances, it was at the owner’s discretion to accept housing assistance programs and vouchers.  


If you’re interested in accepting housing assistance programs in your community, learn more about how the Housing Program works at hominc.com 

Learn more about how accepting housing assistance programs vouchers can benefit your residential properties at ThresholdAZ.com 

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