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Grant intended to spur Allegheny Co. landlords to accept 'high-risk' tenants

Theresa Clift
| Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, 7:54 p.m.
Allegheny County Council has hired a new chief of staff after going more than seven months without one.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Allegheny County Council has hired a new chief of staff after going more than seven months without one.

Allegheny County received a state grant to reimburse landlords for damage to properties rented by “high-risk tenants.”

The $50,000 grant, administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, is intended to encourage landlords to rent to tenants with criminal backgrounds, poor credit history and past evictions — factors that could cause a landlord to turn down an applicant, said Tonia Caruso, a spokeswoman for the county's Department of Human Services.

“The Risk Mitigation Fund is designed as an incentive to landlords to agree to provide housing to such tenants if they normally would not do so and it acts as ‘insurance' in case damage does occur, but we certainly hope and think that it will not,” Caruso said in an email.

Any landlord who provides housing to participants in one of the Department of Human Services' contracted housing programs can be eligible for funds, Caruso said.

The department can also use the funds for landlords who agree to accept Section 8 vouchers from people who move on from a DHS housing program to Section 8.

Only landlords who have previously enrolled in the program, once it begins, will be able to access the funds, Caruso said.

Landlords will be able to get up to $3,000 for legitimate damage claims.

Allegheny County Council voted to accept the grant earlier this week.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, tclift@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tclift.

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