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PORTLAND, Ore. Leaders from the city, county, non-profits and Veterans Administration are calling on landlords to rent to homeless veterans, and they are offering incentives to bring them on board.

The message we want to send to the community is that everyone has a role and today we re asking landlords to step up, said city commissioner Nick Fish.

Local agencies are working more closely with the federal Veterans Administration to get rental vouchers from the VA s Supportive Housing Program to local homeless veterans.

A survey last year put the number of military veterans living on the street at 456. There are enough vouchers for 305 veterans this year, and so far 219 have been distributed to those who qualify.

But there are very few rental options in a tight rental market. And in the past, landlords have been fearful of renting to previously homeless people, including veterans.

We re not bad destructive people and you know we get another chance we ll probably do better this time around than last time, said Navy veteran Charlie Govaert.

He and fellow Navy vet Cenneth Tier are staying in Portland s transitional housing at Bud Clark Commons. But both have a voucher to move out and rent. Vouchers pay for a majority of the cost of rent, depending on need.

I went from being a contributing member of society to being a bum. And this has given me an opportunity to get back and be a contributing member of society-- and I want to be able to give something back at some point, said Tier.

Local agencies have put together $40,000 to help pay security deposits and other costs to landlords, and even offer cash incentive, if they rent to a vet.

For more information on the program, and to offer a place to rent contact Portland s housing bureau Home Forward at landlordservices@homeforward.org, or call 503-802-8333, option 6. Veterans Day is Sunday, November 11.

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