Landlords in U.S. refusing rental properties to veterans

Photo Credit: Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs

Military vets all across the country are still finding it hard to find housing despite being given government vouchers to cover their monthly rent.

Veteran Joseph Coles of Washington, D.C., lives in temporary transitional housing now. He has yet to find his own place. Coles says: “We’re at the mercy of the landlords and apartment complexes. They can choose who they want and who they don’t want.”

It’s not just tough in the nation’s capital, where “you’re lucky to get a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,400 a month.”

According to NPR, government vouchers will cover $900 a month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Miami, but those are difficult to find.

These vets aren’t just dealing with tight, expensive rental markets, they’re also battling stereotypes.

“Quite candidly, look, there’s always going to be some hesitancy by landlords to house somebody that they perceive having lived on the streets,” said Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.  “We’re out there begging, pleading and doing whatever is necessary to persuade landlords to participate in our program,” Book says.

Because landlords are so reluctant to rent space to vets, Book says he makes sure they know their new tenants have been screened. Also, he says, once they are housed, the vets will get whatever support they need — like mental health services and job counseling.

Almost 6,200 homeless military veterans were given government vouchers to cover their rent two months ago, but they have yet to find landlords willing to accept them, NPR reports.

In Minnesota, property owners are being offered  $1,000 signing bonuses for each vet they house by the end of January. Eric Grumdahl, who is coordinating that state’s effort to end homelessness among vets, admits landlords are being asked to take a “leap of faith.”

“They’re often veterans that are facing challenges that may have to do with the fact that they have poor rental history or very little rental history,” he said.

The Obama administration was hoping to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year. Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

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Author

  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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