It started with a spreadsheet of income and expenses showing a modest profit could be made by housing homeless people.
The profit hasn’t materialized yet. But Heidi Roberts and John Betz, a Venice couple who decided to make their mom-and-pop rental business part of the solution to homelessness, have shown that they can get people off the streets while operating outside the government-run system.
In just a year, the couple have provided homes to 98 people, many of whom were placed by homeless services agencies across Los Angeles County.
Currently, 52 formerly homeless tenants live in three newly built properties that they bought in South L.A. Their enterprise grew out of Roberts’ experience as a longtime volunteer with homeless agencies. She saw firsthand case workers’ struggles to find housing for their clients.
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