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RISMEDIA, Nov. 5, 2007-As more families displaced by the wildfires in Southern California look for transitional housing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is expanding its list of available rental housing and strongly encouraging multifamily property owners and landlords to include their unoccupied housing units in HUD’s National Housing Locator System (NHLS).

Working with federal and private housing databases, HUD is providing a step-by-step process that allows property owners and landlords to easily input their rental housing information into the NHLS.

Nearly 26,600 units are currently available through the NHLS in the Southern California, Nevada and Arizona area, a 73% increase over the past week. This includes close to 22,000 units within a 300 mile radius of San Diego County. Several landlords hoping to help wildfire victims have also asked HUD how to get their properties listed in the NHLS.

“The National Housing Locator is a one-stop shop for families who need a place to live as they recover and rebuild. We welcome property owners and landlords who want to reach out to displaced families and help them overcome this crisis by making housing available through our searchable, online clearinghouse. Working together, we can put a roof over the heads of thousands of families as they put their lives back together,” said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

HUD’s disasters recovery teams are currently dispatched to several Southern California local assistance centers and shelters to help families find longer-term transitional housing. The NHLS merges federal housing resources with several commercial housing locators to offer a single outlet for locating rental housing around the country. Using this Web-based system, trained HUD staff is working with families to immediately find available rental housing resources nationwide.

All displaced families are eligible to use the NHLS, regardless of income. Users can set the following search criteria to locate available housing: by city; area code; price range; acceptance of housing vouchers; acceptance of pets; accessibility; assisted and elderly accommodations; and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. In most cases, the database will also include an address and map of the housing complex, and contact information for the landlord, and monthly rent amount.

Landlords and property owners can add available units to the National Housing Locator by completing the following steps:

Log on to www.socialserve.com, which serves the NHLS and several counties and local governments in Southern California.

At the top of the page, select the county where the available rental property is located. Complete the online registration form.

A representative from SocialServe.com will contact the property owner or landlord within approximately 24 hours to ensure correct information about unit(s) has been placed in the database.

The new listing(s) will be available through the NHLS approximately 24 hours after data has been entered and approved.

For more information, visit www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

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