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A Portland Startup Is Smashing Barriers to Affordable Housing

Tyrone Poole, the founder of NoAppFee.com, was homeless once. Now he’s demystifying the rental search, one application at a time.
A family stands outside their apartment building in Portland, Oregon.
A family stands outside their apartment building in Portland, Oregon. Don Ryan/AP Photo

Tyrone Poole had nowhere to go when he dragged himself on crutches to a Portland bus station in late 2006. His leg, still healing from a devastating muscle tear, seared in pain. He collapsed and vomited on a bench. A police officer found him and took him to a local YWCA, which begrudgingly accepted him after hours.

“I got to a cot on the gym floor. I smelled like throw-up. Everything I owned was in a bag under the bed,” says Poole, now 34. “I couldn’t believe I’d gone from winning at life to lying here.”