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HASLO using grant money to help people find affordable housing

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 14, 2021

The Housing Authority of the City of San Luis Obispo (HASLO) is using grant money to help people who are experiencing homelessness get off the streets and into affordable housing.

HASLO received enough grant money to give out more than 150 Section 8 vouchers to people experiencing homelessness in San Luis Obispo.

HASLO's executive director says the goal is to house all of the participating individuals within the next six months.

"Well, I'd say, give us a chance. We're human beings. You know," said HASLO client Bryan Pennywell.

Pennywell, a veteran, is just one of many clients HASLO has helped get back on their feet and he’s asking landlords to do the same for others.

"It's a sad situation because even working persons here often times are unable to afford even a one-bedroom apartment on their own. It's a difficult situation," said HASLO Executive Director Scott Smith.

HASLO put together an incentive program that guarantees rent for landlords. Tenant prospects are screened and those who qualify are selected. Oftentimes, they are people who have fallen on hard times and just need a chance to get back on their feet.

"The only requirement is that those persons need to be homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless like maybe they just lost their job or they're in a crisis. That kind of a thing," Smith said.

The tenants will have to prove they are working or have some sort of income and can pay a portion of the rent.

"There are a lot of working homeless. We have a client that is homeless that we were able to house who actually has a part-time job, about 25 hours a week. They get up, 6 in the morning, take the bus to get to their job and you would never know it I guess is the point," Smith said.

Though the program is taken care of financially, now the challenge is finding landlords to take in those who have received vouchers.

Pennywell is hoping others in the community will step up and make a positive impact on lives of individuals currently experiencing homelessness, as HASLO did for him.

"Well, it changed my life in various ways because when I felt like there was no hope, it gave me hope because they didn't ever give up on me and it helped me get myself established," he said.

Landlords who join the "Welcome Home Program" will receive a $4,000 signing bonus in addition to rent.