, a business-to-business organization partnering with property owners and managers to increase access to housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, announced its public launch on Tuesday.
“Our model is a win-win solution that allows property owners to quickly fill their vacancies while also providing a home to individuals exiting homelessness” said Shkëlqim Kelmendi, Founder and Executive Director of Housing Connector. He added, “I am thrilled to share that Housing Connector’s business approach has helped place 175 individuals in housing in the past 90 days and made over 200 units available throughout King County.”
Housing Connector works directly with landlords and property owners to identify vacant units and provides risk mitigation support to partners willing to lower barriers to housing, such as low credit scores and past evictions. The program offers human service providers exclusive access to listings of these properties and now has more than 35 property owner/managers and over 20 social service providers in the partnership.
This market approach is modeled after the Open Doors program in Atlanta. Housing Connector receives funding from the City of Seattle and King County while working with partners in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
“Housing Connector serves as a bridge to connect property owners to those in need of housing, along with services and supports to assist both landlords and tenants” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “It gives us more options to help people throughout King County who are urgently seeking not just housing, but a second chance to get their lives on track.”
“Housing Connector adds efficiency and truly changes the way our work is done,” said Walter Washington, Senior Housing Services Director of Wellspring Family Services. “Hundreds of case managers across King County now have access to many more units to move families into permanent housing.”
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce incubated Housing Connector during its pilot phase and continues to provide operational support for the program.
“Housing Connector is a great example of the business community using its unique strengths to address a regional challenge,” said Chamber president and CEO Marilyn Strickland. “With the enthusiasm from landlords and property managers, as well as from our technological partner, Zillow, I’m excited to see Housing Connector continue to expand and help those in need of housing.”
Executive Director | Housing Connector