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To tackle homelessness faster, LA has a kind of real estate agency for the unhoused

Dan Valdez's mission can seem impossible. .Valdez is with the nonprofit Brilliant Corners, which partners with L.A. County's Department of Health Services to act like a kind of real estate agency for the unhoused.

He heads a team of 12, and they also scout recent property transactions for potential vacant units. Their strategy is to have a stock of rent-ready apartments so that as soon as clients get their housing vouchers and documents in order, they can move right in.

It's a striking change from how tenants are usually matched with permanent housing. The job often falls to overburdened homelessness case managers with many other duties, and it can be a lengthy endeavor that requires intricate timing and luck. But L.A.'s model is spreading, in California and beyond, as more places desperately seek new ways to house a record number of people living on their streets.

Brilliant Corners aims to have a stock of available housing, even if some units sit empty for up to two months. It allows renters to move right in as soon as their housing voucher and paperwork are ready. Grace Widyatmadja/NPR


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