Landlord incentive program aims to boost housing for low-income families
BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. — Less risk for landlords. More housing for people who need it. That is what Bernalillo County officials hope will happen with its Landlord Incentive Program.
The pilot program kicked off Tuesday. Now, landlords can file a claim to get up to $7,500 in reimbursement per housing unit for damages or income loss caused by someone who receives a housing voucher from the county.
Bernalillo County commissioners approved $750,000 for this in April.
“This is something that we’re aware of that happens to landlords. Usually, they’re left holding the bag financially when people leave, and we’re saying, ‘No, we’re your partner. Let’s take care of some of this risk for you.’ And we really want to encourage them to participate because housing is very important,” said Shatriece Lewis, the program’s landlord liaison.
Already, Lewis said she has seen a positive response.
“There are two things that I’ve heard the most thus far. The first thing is, you’re a godsend. This is a blessing. Then, the second thing is, I’m going to take on another Bernalillo County Housing Department participant now where they may have been on the fence,” she said.
Getting more people into homes can ease the issues our community faces.
“Studies show when people are housed, there’s less drug use. There’s less crime. And, there’s hope for the future,” Lewis stated.
The program runs through June. During that time, Lewis will gather data and feedback from landlords.
“What’s the average cost of each claim? What areas are mostly impacted, both within the units and our community? Is there a very specific zip code? How many units do landlords typically own? Out of those units, how many of those units are they renting to participants? Those are the things that we really want to know,” she said.
Once they have that data, the Bernalillo County Housing Department can develop a permanent program that puts the estimated 2,500 vouchers to its intended task.
Landlords can file a claim for damages up to 60 days after they first became aware of the damage. They can also file a claim for income loss of up to 60 days.
If you’re a landlord who is interested in this program, reach out to Shatriece Lewis at email@example.com.