Long Beach woos landlords with bonuses to accept rental vouchers

Incentives include direct payments to cover security deposits and repairs

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson
Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson (Getty, Rex Richardson for Long Beach Mayor)

Long Beach landlords can get bonuses for accepting city rental vouchers from low-income residents.

The City of Long Beach is now offering financial incentives to local landlords to encourage them to accept vouchers, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. The incentives include direct payments to cover leasing bonuses and security deposits.

“One of our most important tools in meeting the city’s homeless need is housing vouchers,” said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, who announced the Long Beach Housing Authority program. “These provide recipients with help to pay the rent, and make sure that they have what they need to get low-income residents into stable housing.”

Long Beach offers two types of vouchers: Emergency housing vouchers and housing choice vouchers.

Emergency housing vouchers are available to those who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless or are fleeing violence or human trafficking. Housing choice vouchers, known as Section 8, provide rental subsidies for very low-income residents.

With federal funds from the 2021 American Rescue Act, the city’s Housing Authority has awarded 582 emergency vouchers, of which 225 recipients are still without a home.

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“We still have so many people in our city who are unhoused, but holding vouchers,” Housing Authority Manager Alison King said. “They might not have perfect credit, they might have prior evictions — but many are just waiting for someone to give them a chance.”

The Housing Authority is now offering landlords direct payments to cover leasing bonuses, security deposits, utility deposits, application fees and damage mitigation or repairs if they accept tenants with housing vouchers.

For those with emergency vouchers, Richardson said, the Housing Authority has support available to help cover moving costs, rental insurance and home furnishings.

“We need landlords to be partners with us in preventing homelessness and renting to tenants with vouchers has benefits like guaranteed income,” King said. “We know that every month a unit sits empty, that’s lost income for the property owner.”

The voucher incentives are among initiatives launched by the city this month after it passed an emergency declaration on homelessness. The city also started a new Mobile Access Center for outreach to homeless residents, as well as a donation campaign to support the city’s response to homelessness.

— Dana Bartholomew

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