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Renting to homeless families and individuals gave San Diego landlord Jimmie Robinson an unexpected benefit – the satisfaction that comes with helping people succeed.

“When you meet people and you help them, it kind of gives you a good feeling inside,” he said. “You start to feel good about actually taking someone from what I would call a very bad situation, with no roof over their head, and actually give them some shelter.”

Jimmie and his wife, Marlynn, are among the 435 San Diego landlords who joined Housing Our Heroes, a HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO initiative that SDHC launched last year to provide housing opportunities for 1,000 homeless Veterans.


“Landlords have to open their minds and be part of this type of program; otherwise, it doesn’t work.” – Landlord Jimmie Robinson


Watching the difference that their rental unit made in the lives of homeless families and individuals has transformed Jimmie and Marlynn into advocates for renting to homeless San Diegans — Veterans and non-Veterans.

Their rental home first helped a homeless single mother, who was working and going to school while living in motels with her three kids and her mother. The stable housing allowed her to complete her education, obtain a job promotion, and move into an affordable unit where she could be self-reliant — all in just six months.

Today, Jimmie and Marlynn rent the same single-family home to four formerly homeless Veterans, who came together to live as roommates in the four-bedroom house that Marlynn dubbed the “VIBE House” — Veterans in a Better Environment.

“There are agencies that are out there, and they’re doing their part, but it’s only so much they can do if landlords (aren’t) a part of it,” Jimmie said. “Landlords have to open their minds and be part of this type of program; otherwise, it doesn’t work because someone has to rent these people places to stay,” he said.

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