Golden RuleThe Golden Rule. So simple, yet so powerful. Treat others how you would like to be treated. It gives us a foundation for societal  norms; a lens for decision-making. It’s the tool we parents reach for during those “teaching moments”. I think of it as the thread that runs through belief systems, offering a common touchstone  for us as we work toward the common good.

Imagine, just for a moment, that you are a homeless mother staying in a local emergency shelter. You grew up poor and married early to make a fresh start, but the white picket fence dream ended quickly. You adore your two young children, but worry constantly about them because they have  witnessed things no child should see.

The good news is that you qualify for, and have been offered housing assistance through King County’s Rapid Rehousing Program. You will have help paying your rent for a few months – or longer – while you get back on your feet. You will continue to work with your case manager if things get bumpy. You just started a new job that has the potential to lead to a living wage position.Things are looking up.

The bad news is that you can’t find a landlord who will rent to you because you have an eviction on your record. You fill out application upon application (paying the fee each time, which dips into your already meager savings) and each time face rejection and humiliation. Your children ask, over and over, when are we going home?

The Committee to End Homelessness recently estimated at least 1,000 households in King County have access to housing resources but can’t find a landlord who will rent to them. Ending homelessness is within reach – if we can close the rental housing gap.

Although I am not a landlord, I can understand the hesitation to rent to families with rocky rental history or even a felony conviction. The Great Recession hit many of us hard; property values are finally rebounding. The economy is making a slower than predicted comeback. Property owners worry we could face another recession, and are hesitant to take risks. I get it – we are all a bit more cautious. Sometimes families face discrimination just for being poor and homeless. Some landlords see the families through a dangerous – and unfair –  stereotypical lens: homeless families will damage their property and, in general, be unreliable tenants.

Bottom line: these families need someone to take a risk, someone to show them the compassion we would all want to receive if we were in their situation.

What if landlords could follow their hearts AND their heads?

King County is one of a few regions in the country that has programs that offer safeguards and supports to give landlords the help they need to live the golden rule with little or no risk. Unfortunately, most landlords are unaware of the programs.

Here’s where you come in – help us spread the word through local faith communities, and invite landlords to end homelessness for one family.

  1. Learn more about the One Home Campaign
  2. Invite all the landlords you know to the Landlord Appreciation Reception (below) where they’ll learn more about the One Home Campaign.
  3. Talk to us about hosting a One Home coffee or happy hour at your congregation.

Let’s give homeless people the break we’d all expect if we were in their shoes.

Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to live. When you help house a family, you are not only helping individual take charge of their lives; you are making our community a better place to live, One Home at a time.

Help us spread the word – Invite landlords you know from your congregation and community. 

Download: PDF version of the Landlord Appreciation Event Invitation   ♦Landlord Appreciation Event Poster for your bulletin board ♦ JPEG Notice (also in GIF format) for your congregation bulletin

*Note: we can provide printed copies for you upon request: Email gustavel@seattleu.eduLandlord Appreciation Reception Flyer (5-6-15)

RSVP by May 1st to Michelle Valdez at or fill out the form below

One Home: A Landlord Partnership to End Homelessness, One Unit at a Time