Are you willing to help the homeless?

83 Replies | Chattanooga, Tennessee

@Jay Hinrichs for sure. The difference between doing well and learning the hard way.

@Patrick Chiles there is a program here in Portland called Join that goes around to tents and tries to get the people into housing. We at Rental Housing Alliance were committed to housing one family a month until we found out they blamed landlords for the homelessness because of screening criteria which is supposed to be discriminatory. Of course they got grants from the city. Same deal one year then you are on your own. 

I used to be homeless myself. Moved out from parents, partied too much and didn't wake up in time for work 1 too many times. I wasn't worried. I could easily find another job. I didn't realize who Jimmy Carter was though and what he had done to the economy. I also didn't know what inflation was. I learned real quick though. 

One thing I also learned was there are homeless, bums and addicts. We often lump them all into the homeless category. Most panhandlers are not homeless. I know this because I spent the night in a few of their houses. Why work when you can make it all in 4 hours a day? I spent the winter taking baths in the creek and looking for work. Mostly I just picked up change on the road and out of phone booths. Ate a lot of Quaker Oats made with creek water and nothing else. $.50 a week would buy a box of that. I would never stoop to panhandling though. Hate oatmeal to this day unless it's in a cookie. 

True homeless people didn't hang around the addicts. They are too dangerous. Bums are harmless but even they know better than to hang with the addicts. You cant help an addict. Only they can choose to help themselves. Until then, no matter what you do they will break your heart or your head. Ask me how I know. 

This program should be a good thing but be advised, please dont rent to an addict. We have a homeless program in town that is really good. There is zero tolerance though. One slip and you are out. They have 2 "bouncers" for every person there for just in case. They give them food, shelter and a paying job. Still, only abut 20% make it out. One poster had said 10 houses and 1 (maybe 2) were successful. That sounds about right. I help the local shelter and have for years. 20% success rate is average. 

Rentals are a numbers game so expect 80%  loss if you do this. Our homeless shelter has been in business for 40 years. I just didn't know about it when I was homeless. It's also why I like to help them because I know what it is like to be in that position. 

Yes, we have had a legacy Tenant for the last 15 years in a property on HUD they paid only 850 a month after all these years we were capped at only a 3% annual increase. But they contacted us and offered us the new HUD reimbursement and that will end half of the homelessness our income from HUD had been held down by GOP Senate to 850 a month just increased to 1250 overnight they called us with the increase most landlords would no longer accept Hud Tenants but now I heard plans of a private investor to put over $1 billion into HUD low-cost housing in Los Angeles Today as it finally pays to do so. our Mortgage was paid off on the property and HUD always pays without any hassles.

Also, my Hud Tenant has been long term last 15 years with only minor normal maintenance. So very little work for us. When she leaves we can gut the place and put in a new Kitchen and Bathrooms and max out the rent. It's been nice not having a whinny tenant. My Worst Tenant was my Richest tenant with perfect Forged credit and Rich Billionaire uncle who employed him. Within a month I had an addict who nearly burnt our place down with a crack pipe burning holes in the carpet in all rooms and trashing the kitchen and 2 baths. Every door had holes and two broken toilets. cost me over $10 k and the Guy went to jail for 10 years so not able to collect.

Yes I am willing to help the homeless. I often give to the local rescue mission and encourage others to do the same. 

As far as this program goes, all I can say is one neglectful or malicious tenant can do a hell of a lot more damage than two months of security deposit will cover. 

@Bruce Woodruff

I agree to that. There was a homeless problem built up in my mom’s city (Santa Ana, CA) a few years ago and I remember on the news hearing about people who want to be homeless. They were getting free food, shelter, and even cell phones!! In our area, most homeless I see seem to have mental issues or are Vets, which is sad, but the other majority want to be homeless because that’s their lifestyle and it bares them no responsibilities!

I personally would pass on this type of program unless there’s a heavy screening process by the government and goals for the homeless person to get back on their feet. It would be nice helping someone who wants the help but that seems far fetched within the homeless population.

Nope that's a hard pass for me. Since we rent multi-family, I feel like I have an obligation to my other tenants to rent to people without "behaviors" that are likely to cause problems. The city left a homeless encampment down the street from one of my properties for several years, we saw a lot of "problem behaviors" in the neighborhood.
@Shera Linares :

Yes, one of my wife's good friends a couple years back worked for San Diego County with the homeless program. Her specific job was to interview them and find out why/when/where/what/Etc.....

At the time after thousands of interviews, her numbers were at 93%. That is of the homeless population that didn't want to leave the streets....oh, they take money and anything free, as long as no rules were involved.

Another story I remember from Orange County about 5 years ago....the do-gooders took approx 400 homeless and put them in hotels... free food, medical, everything....all they had to do was live 1 month under County rules. Only 7 made it. Only 7 out of 400+ decided they wanted a free ride rather than live the street life. They actually have it better being homeless..... And they trashed the hotels before they left......

Originally posted by @Mark Kovacs :

@Patrick Chiles I’ll help them find a JOB. So many places are hiring and can’t get people to work.

 I'd just like to see one of these folks operating these non profits "because they want to help" put their money where their mouth is. This dude can't put his own properties in the program but he can collect a check working for the non profit trying to get ours......Yea ok buddy.

Originally posted by @Dennis Yosco :

@Patrick Chiles

My future goals are to provide affordable housing for the homeless. I’m going to look into this and maybe get started sooner than later.

Thank you for sharing.

I think that's a noble idea. We do need at least some people like you. Now, I'd be really impressed if you used private money, especially your own, and you rented your own properties to these people. :-)

Califonia has provided 100% unpaid rents to be paid to landlords up to $10,000 per unit lots of larger 100 plus unit properties are using this program to assist any of their Tenants they want to keep. All money is directly deposited into Landlord's account if they do no file for an eviction Tenant also must sign to accept the Rental Assistance so if they work in Construction or a job where Taxes go unreported they may have future tax problems. Normal Tenants who actually suffered the loss of income are usually happy to sign the agreement for rental assistance. I have only seen a problem when a Landlord has under the table Money agreements with Tenants or accepts Tenants with no visible income, to begin with. Tenants with a Job that withhold taxes are all paid up with this Rent Grant program. Landlords that help renters apply have been getting made whole

I generally think programs like these mean well but are misguided. The homeless tend to fall into one of five camps:

1. Voluntarily homeless - there are people that literally *do not* want to have a steady home. They would rather live off the land, the largesse of others, or through innumerable cons/schemes/criminal activity. Whether your home is an apartment or a house, keeping and maintaining it requires a certain amount of conformity to society, even if it's limited to just paying your property taxes. There is, and always will be, some percentage of the population that will not conform, period.

2. Addicts - people who cannot keep themselves together in any meaningful way in order to maintain a home or the requirements for getting assistance with homelessness like Section 8.

3. Mentally ill - people who do not have the mental wherewithal to maintain a residence.

4. Criminals - usually felons/sex offenders who find it difficult/impossible to get steady housing in light of their records.

5. Temporarily displaced - these are the people that get stories in Fox and CNN about how they were doing great, but just happened to get a couple of bad turns and now are being tossed out on the street.

By and large, the only reasonable class that can overcome homelessness as the problem, rather than a symptom of the problem, is the last class. I would be surprised if this was more than 10% of the total homeless population. My completely unscientific estimate, based on what I see in my own backyard, is that the percentages from 1-5 is something like 40-30-15-10-5. Most of the homeless that are visible in my area appear to be 20-40 year olds with tattoos, odd hair and reasonably physically fit, with most of their teeth and missing other telltale signs of meth (most common) or other addictions.

I totally get where @Scott Mac was aiming for. Before the moral revolutions of the late 1800's/early 1900's, virtually every city had a "red-light district" where all the undesirable stuff went - gambling, prostitution, homelessness, etc. Cops patrolled the red-light districts but by and large anything went, and someone came by to pick up the corpses. The red-light districts were a rational acknowledgement that there are certain behaviors that will never be eliminated in a democratic society, and rather than waste a lot of time and effort trying to eliminate them, corral them into one area that can at least be controlled. I don't think it's a bad idea. Maybe shipping them to the country into concrete boxes wouldn't work, but certainly almost every urban area has some section that would make a suitable red-light district. We end up putting up with the homeless in areas no one wants them because we have nowhere to send them. In the old days, smaller towns would simply round up them up (back then they were called hobos or bums rather than the nicer homeless term), put them on a freight train and send them to the next town to deal with. Not fair for the next town, but gets to exactly my point.

Anyway, the only group of that 5 I named you can help is the last group. Any efforts to help the homeless really need to be specifically tailored for that group, because it's the only one that isn't going to waste your time and money and destroy your property. All of the rest haven't reached a point where they have a desire to change their current state (and in the case of the mentally ill, they should be in institutions anyway). 

I'll donate to help the homeless any day, or give food if I see someone who needs it and is willing to accept (some get offended). I am a big believer in giving my own money to help the less fortunate. I hope to do more of it in the future. 

Real estate is a business to me, and I treat it as such. That means I will not accept anyone who's a risk to my property, or other tenants (we buy multifamily). Hard pass on these programs.  

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Linda S.:

@Patrick Chiles

I actually participated in this program with 10 houses last year, and yes-- I always got rent during COVID, got double security deposit, and we had 1 success story (maybe 2).    They sell you rainbows, yes-- feel good, warm and fuzzies, helping the community, guaranteeing rent, getting people back on their feet...   

After participating myself, let me tell you with 100% certainty there is NO CHANCE IN H*** I WOULD EVER DO IT AGAIN!   ZERO. NADA.        Don't' call it a charity-- call it what it is … "Free Rent Ride for 1 year"-- and btw the tenants and the program get  PISSED at you for not renewing , and  the charity withhold the last month rent.

If a person doesn't actively have skin in the game, there is ZERO respect for your house.   Also, it's not them you're helping, it's them-- and likely their BF, and sister, and her 5 kids are also moving in.       I had beautiful renovations TRASHED within 1 year, when I say trashed-- I mean TRASHED, had to repaint/refloor after 1 year-- damage so bad, gosh I don't even know how it happens.    Absolutely disgusting!   It's not worth it, the amount of damage done to a house!   I would NEVER recommend the program to any new landlord.   I'm so glad to wash my hands with the program, seriously, it's NOT a warm and fuzzy story.    I had pest control on 3 houses, only when they move out-- tenants never let them in, so it was a crazy mice infestation and another was a really bad roach problem!  It's absolutely disgusting.

Also-- if you have to do an eviction (I had to with 3) the charity walks away, no help whatsoever.   It's a crock of ___.

Govmit needs to risk THEIR PROPERTIES  not ours.

Sadly we've tried that too. It didn't go well. 

lots of affordable Durable homes for this type of Homeless housing made with Steel, Concrete and EPS foam so they are Hurricane proof and easily refurbished. No Drywall or wood that can mold no Carpet only hard solid surfaces. rated for 90% of Noth America with an emergency ADU permit from Ipermits USA to add your existing single-family properties when you wish to generate extra rent. HUD just increased our Rent on one unit from $850 to $1250 overnight to help with the housing shortage. so I'm installing more.

@Patrick Chiles I have raised my rent and then donate cash to professionals that are in the business of dealing with people that need help. There are those that just can't quite make it on there own, not quite stable enough to cut it in this society so they end up in doorways. So they need a shower and some food to go. There are those that are just lazy and admit it and of course mental illness and those with criminal minds. Down the street from me they cleaned up a camp because a woman attacked another woman with a hatchet.

When I drove cab I had a couple with 3 kids that would go to different freeway ramps with the kids and do great. Then they went to the mission and got free food. They rented a house in the rose city area paid first and last and security. Nice house $800 per month which was a nice house in early 80's. Plus they took cabs. He told me he was a welder but hated it and was putting money in the bank.

I have helped people with budgeting and it is tough. Some people are older with poor heath and very little income. It is tough to see. I have some success stories doing that but when you volunteer there is a lack of respect because they figure you get what you pay for.

Some will do drugs in their car and throw the needles into the street then throw their fast food trash into your yard, or should I say my yard. Right by a school where kids play. Sold that place which was my favorite property.

Most of these posts assume that the only people that are homeless are drug addicts and hookers. @Jay Hinrichs actually had some information of value.  In the area where I live, the market is so competitive for homes and for rentals, that many people have become homeless through no fault of their own. We've had massive wildfires in northern CA that has destroyed thousands of homes, in some areas many were manufactured homes, and won't cover replacing, IF they could even find the inventory from which to purchase as the manufactured homes dealers are months out on orders. Many of the homeowners whether insured or not do not have housing while rebuilding happens, as the red tape of getting homes built takes time, and there's no rentals. 

Seniors that had manufactured homes paid for and living on limited income cannot qualify to buy a new manufactured in a park as they cannot qualify for the park rental income of 3x the park rent, but can afford to pay years worth of park rent up front but parks won't allow it, so those seniors become homeless. 

The working poor can't find housing because there's nothing on the market. Families with little kids, sleeping in cars in some areas of CA. It's easy to say they should move, but it costs money to move. 

Right now I have a group of women that are seniors, looking for new housing as the house they're in has been sold. They need a 4 bedroom and can pay 2500 per month, more if there's more bedrooms (2 per room) but there's NOTHING available. They've been paying 3000 a month for over 4 years. 

This is a complex issue, and all the quick remarks might seem cute, but this is a real problem that we need to find solutions for. We need State, City and County planners to allow more types of housing to be developed faster. ADUs are going to help somewhat, but they're still expensive to build. 

It seems to me that the time to develop anything is the enemy of housing. 

Honestly, with stuff like this, it's not even about the money for me.  When I was managing my own properties, I made the decision pretty early on that I'd rather rent to a blue collar worker than a Section 8 applicant.  I've made my feelings known to my current property managers, but haven't actually verified that they're following this strategy for me (it's not a rule and I don't have some crazy vendetta or anything).  Anyway, I'm sure it's cost me money in the long run, but who cares?  I support what I want more of and, for me, that's people that are willing to work for what they have.