Jose Gaytan, a landlord in Alaska for 18 years, welcomes others with a firm handshake and warm smile. Meeting people seems easy for him. Maybe it’s because he’s interacted with countless tenants or he’s just a people-person—a vibe he gives off.
As Jose provides a tour of an apartment that he rents out in a building he owns, you can tell he’s invested in his tenants’ comfort and his properties’ upkeep. The fresh feeling the apartment exudes helps people settle in—something heartening for those emerging from experiencing homelessness, many of whom have been Jose’s tenants.
Since 2015, he has joined nonprofits that work to end homelessness in Anchorage by offering rental space to their clients. In 2022, United Way of Anchorage launched our Landlord Housing Partnership. When Jose received an email about the program, he went to our recruitment presentation and signed up that day.
“I consider each applicant carefully,” he says. “I want to help get people housed, and I also need to know that they’re a good fit with me and my other tenants.” Jose recognizes that those getting back up on their feet need stability—for themselves, their neighbors, and their support network.
About three months ago, Jose got a call. A case manager told him she had identified a potential tenant. “I sent her my rental application to fill out on the tenant’s behalf and told her, ‘Send it back to me and let them know I can sit down for an honest talk.’”
Jose met the case manager and potential tenant. “They said, ‘I have a job. I’m turning things around. I just need a hand to get started,’” Jose recounts. “When I heard that, I said, ‘Let’s do this!’” Now, that tenant has the support they need to succeed, a stable place to live, and a landlord that is sympathetic to their struggles—an equation that yields a sustainable solution for permanent housing.
When people come from vulnerable situations, they often need extra support—as so do the people helping them. While landlords’ kindness matters, their businesses, properties, and other tenants do too. Our Landlord Housing Partnership acknowledges those facts and benefits both landlords and tenants. For landlords, financial backing for unexpected expenses and incentives to sign leases exist. For tenants, case managers create accountability, offer guidance, and provide back-up.
United Way of Anchorage wants our community’s rehoming efforts to succeed so homelessness is rare, brief, and never more than once. Supporting Anchorage’s caring landlords is accomplished by our Landlord Housing Partnership. To support our efforts helping people exit homelessness, please donate using the button below. Thank you!