Posted inHousing

‘Landlord of last resort’: Boulder’s largest shelter is buying homes for people often shunned by property owners

The city’s largest homeless shelter, the nonprofit Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, is having trouble finding landlords willing to rent to people who have certain criminal records.

So it’s buying up properties to rent out itself.

“For those individuals who find it very difficult to secure a landlord, the shelter will endeavor to become a low-level landlord of last resort,” Spencer Downing, the interim director of the shelter, told Boulder Reporting Lab.

Such property investments are a pillar of the city’s strategy for addressing homelessness. According to a presentation from city staff to the Boulder City Council on Sept. 1, 2022, the city expects to spend about $8 million on homelessness in 2022. That is more than double the $3.6 million it spent in 2021. Most of that money is for buying properties or building housing. 

Efforts to find housing for people with criminal records and drug addiction are part of an ongoing evolution of the city and county’s “housing first” program, which was launched in 2017.