KUSA - There's a new push to get the homeless off the streets and into housing.
A program backed by the Denver Metro Mayors Caucus, Colorado Housing Connects, Brothers Redevelopment and the Metro Denver Homeless Imitative is calling on property owners to open up their hearts and their wallets.
Ryan Boykin with Atlas Real Estate Group knows the Denver area housing market is hot. He also knows that as the prices continue to go up, it's getting harder for people to afford places to live -- especially the homeless.
So his company is joining the new initiative and will put aside 200 apartments and houses for the needy.
"These folks that are homeless, particularly the veterans that have served for our country, they really need to be better served and this is an easy way to do it," Boykin said.
Formerly homeless veteran John Claybaugh said trying to find a place to live is tough. He thinks the new program will help open doors.
"It's very unhelpful and an unhealthy situation to have to walk into an apartment to look at or fill out an application for when you're pulling a suitcase," he said.
Once someone qualifies for housing, they will get matched up with a participating landowner.
The program does give financial incentives to property owners through the Regional Incentive Fund totalling up to $1,600 for repairs and rent if there is a vacancy.
But landlords might have to rent the unit for less than current market value to make it more affordable.
"We are asking them for forgo some rental income, make that rental available to somebody in need," said Jeff Martinez of Brothers Redevelopment.
Boykin said skyrocketing rent won't last forever and property owners must think long-term. The new program will help place people in rental units, cutting down the vacancy rate when the market starts to dip again.
"The icing on the cake is we're helping people. That's the number one component of this is how can we work within business to help people and make our community a little bit better place," Boykin said.
Boykin is one of 53 landlords that have agreed to participate in the new program through Colorado Housing Connects. Currently, there are about 30 units available.
For more information, you can call Colorado Housing Connects at 1-844-926-6632 or visit www.coloradohousingconnects.org.
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