Case workers say many landlords unwilling to accept tenants who are homeless

Case workers say many landlords unwilling to accept tenants who are homeless

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's unusual to see Rebecca Charlton at a desk.  The Catholic Charities housing specialist is typically out in the community trying to connect clients with a place to live.

"We went to a viewing this morning and the landlord looked at me and said we don't take subsidy programs," said Charlton.

Even with the money all lined up, Charlton says that's a common response.  Others can't get past the application process.

"It says where does your client currently live.  It says Ala Moana Park because it's true. The landlord will see this and say are you kidding me.  I'm not taking a homeless person," said Charlton.

The Hawaii Pathways Project is one of many programs across Oahu trying to educate landlords letting them know they are there to provide support. Case workers here admit their clients come with baggage.  They're all considered chronically homeless. Many have substance abuse or behavioral health issues. But they make it clear the program's involvement doesn't end once someone is housed.

"It's a partnership three people are entering.  It's the client, the landlord and then there is us and we are facilitating the conversation between all three," said Hawaii Pathways Project Program Coordinator Adrian Contreras.

Over the past year the organization has been able to provide 36 people with a combination of housing and clinical support.  Case workers make weekly house calls to each client to see how they're doing.

"A lot of people have don a lot of hard work to get them where they are and we certainly don't want to lose that momentum and fall back into homelessness," said Contreras.

Thirty-eight people are currently on their waiting list. Each is approved for a voucher to pay the rent.  Charlton admits things aren't always perfect but that's why she's there.

"That's my job to stand there and say I know this is a risk and I see that but we have a lot of people behind this person to support them," said Charlton.

Of the 36 people housed by the Hawaii Pathways Project in the past year.  None have fallen back into homelessness.

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