A new approach to providing access to the private rented sector for homeless people has been shortlisted for the prestigious Andy Ludlow Awards, sponsored by the London Housing Foundation.
The project is a collaboration between eight East London boroughs and six support providers. It is run by The East London Housing Partnership and works to help single people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness to access accommodation in the private rented sector. The East London Single Homelessness Project provides a deposit and tailored support, delivered by a range of specialist providers
Margaret Williams is the Homelessness Project Manager who coordinates the scheme. She said “This project is unique because it provides what many find is missing – money for the rent deposit, and support designed to help sustain the tenancy. This two-pronged approach helps the person to deal with the issues that lead to them becoming homeless in the first place, in order to avoid the revolving door of homelessness. Over 300 people have benefited from the scheme so far and we have seen some particularly positive outcomes such as a client opening his own business and another exhibiting his art work, as well as service users gaining valuable work experience by volunteering in the homelessness sector with our support provider partners.’
305 single people have been assisted into the private rented sector and so far 40% have been provided with practical support into employment, education, training or volunteering. 60 people have sustained accommodation for more than a year, most in the original accommodation.
A client who has used the scheme said “I was sleeping on a park bench getting threatened and feeling vulnerable. Now I have my own front door and feel safe. I cannot work because of ill health. I like to be at home, I like cooking and enjoy reading.” Another commented “I find the scheme very helpful, they show you things you didn’t know and put you on the right track. They showed me where to go to get voluntary work.”
East London Housing Partnership aims to research sustainment of the project in the long term through use of private leasing schemes, Bonds and partnering with Credit Unions.
Don Wood is the Executive Chairman of the London Housing Foundation. He said “The private rented sector is an important source of housing for homeless people. This scheme is interesting and effective because of the range of support offered and the extensive partnership approach taken”.