Government Programs Do Work 2

The affordable housing website was created by funding from Fannie Mae (before they turned to the dark side) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.   There is a need for a list of housing that is available to the public in every city.   There must be a free resource available for landlords to list their apartments and those apartments that accept a voucher.  This service is a prime example of private--public partnership.   Socialserve.com is a non-profit organization funded by government and the quasi government organization in Fannie Mae Foundation.  We call it HousingCleveland or HousingOhio locally and it has been active in Cleveland since 2005, and in 2011 we crossed one million searches done in one year.  The government funded website has spread across the United States and they are now in over 30 states.   

This service was invaluable to Cleveland in 2005 when trying to relocate those fleeing the Army Corps created disaster in New Orleans.   We were able to propagate the site with a large number of landlords at the beginning because so many were interested in helping.   It has been an outstanding resource for us to use to refer people looking for housing.  We have made improvements to the site over the years, and added the ability for case workers to login to see additional information about the properties to assist their clients.   We found out that we see as many visitors to the site as the Los Angeles affordable housing website and we have one eighth the population.  

Social serve offers a nice staff that keeps that website up to date with updated information on the availably of the housing.  They have a call center to answer questions or list new properties on the site.  They are a nice partner for the local community.  It is way better then the waste of money housing locator that the State of Ohio funded.   It is never updated and is useless.   In Cleveland, we have funded the HousingCleveland.org with HUD dollars, CMHA assistance, homeless dollars and Cuyahoga County support.  It would be easier if HUD gave a blanket ability for the local communities to fund essential services like HousingCleveland without a lot of redtape.  We know that thousands use the site every week, and we know that many of the landlords are happy with the free platform to advertise their property.

Brian

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