Zillow's new search tool helps find housing for those in need

The platform is working with a housing company in Washington to tackle homelessness.

Escaping homelessness is an enormous undertaking, not least because so many landlords and property managers have strict criteria for new tenants. Those that have been homeless are often unable to provide rental histories or sizeable deposits, for example. Now though, property platform Zillow is teaming up with a housing company in Washington to help tackle the problem.

Housing Connector is a Kings County-based organization whose mission it is to fill the area's vacant rental units with those most in need of a home. It does so by providing free referrals to ready-to-rent residents, and risk mitigation to landlords willing to lower barriers and rent to households experiencing homelessness. Zillow will now include an "Accepts Housing Connector" checkbox on its property search, meaning that case managers no longer have to laboriously look for suitable homes for their clients on a property-by-property basis.

Some 35 landlords and 42 nonprofit service providers are already active on the platform as it launches, with more expected to be added soon. Housing Connector has already helped 460 individuals and families find suitable homes, and says that by using its services those experiencing homelessness can find and move into their next home 30 percent faster than those facing the same barriers without support. It's hoped that the inclusion of the Housing Connector search function on Zillow will help drive wait times even lower.