While homeless residents can often get help in accessing rentals from homeless services ― whether agencies speak on their behalf to property owners or even help them to pay rent ― at the end of the day, landlords will simply choose whichever candidate they think is most likely to pay rent, said Holmes.
“If landlords look at an application for a family who has been renting a house for $3,000 a month for three years, and one from a homeless person, guess whose application is going in the trash? It’s business,” said Terry Jenkins, a 62-year-old homeless resident of one of the Catholic Charities’ shelters in Santa Rosa. “The [homeless] people here have no chance at all of getting rentals now.”
Shelby Harris, communications manager at Santa Rosa homeless youth organization Social Advocates for Youth, said that some rental associations have told her organization that they are currently only accepting applications from people impacted by the fires.