Calling All ND Landlords: Providers Urged to Consider Vets for Housing
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
In North Dakota and around the country, goals are being pursued to help military Veterans find permanent housing.
Groups leading the effort say landlords are crucial in finding success. The Veterans Administration and nonprofit partners want to establish stable housing for 38,000 veterans nationwide this year. Organizers in North Dakota say the state is halfway to a regional goal of housing 136 veterans.
Andrea Olson, executive director of the Community Action Partnership of North Dakota, said the lack of affordable rental units, especially in rural areas, can be a barrier for their clients. So, they want to make more connections with property owners.
"One of the things that contributes to success, and ongoing success, is just great relationships with landlords," she said. "We want to reach new landlords that aren't engaged with us that are willing to work with us in this veterans program."
Veterans on the brink of homelessness work with case managers at CAP-ND to address any legal issues or other roadblocks to permanent housing. Landlords who participate receive 24- to 48-hour response times from managers regarding any tenant issues. Property owners also receive financial incentives, as well as mediation support.
Fargo-area landlord Mark Bosserman, a veteran who has about five vets in his rental portfolio, said larger providers might be leery of these prospective tenants, but adds that he feels they should reconsider. He noted that military service creates added stress that can result in unexpected detours in life.
"You need some time, and some love and some care, to get over it," he said. "And so, by spending a little time and getting to know the guys individually, it seems to be a pretty good payoff, actually. Some of them seem to be really nice, [they] just needed a chance to get back on their feet."
By having more landlords participate, Olson said, clients who are ready for permanent housing have more of a choice in where they want to live.
"We don't want to say, 'Well, your only option is in Bismarck; your only option is in Fargo.'"
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