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An innovative scheme that trains ex homeless people to support homeless people living in the private rented sector for the first time has been shortlisted for the prestigious Andy Ludlow Awards.

Director of Operations at Thames Reach Bill Tidnam explains: “It can be hard for homeless people to get into the private rented sector.  As well as the need for a deposit there are a huge range of new skills they need to learn.  We help with the deposit but crucially provide a peer landlord – a co-tenant with a shared background who has gained a level of independence and experience and who is able to act as a positive role model. Peer Landlords are trained in key areas such as basic housing management and maintenance awareness, as well as financial literacy – from paying bills to managing money.   This is supportive housing, not supported housing”

Seyi Cole, 22, is a peer landlord in the scheme.  He said “I know how difficult I found it when I first started renting: bills, new neighbours, how to fill your time.  So it is a real privilege for me to be able to support and help someone else.  I really enjoy it and the training I am receiving will also help me as I move back into education and try to get my own flat.”

Bill added: “We are grateful to all our peer landlords for the great job they do, and Commonweal and our investors who have helped to make this possible.  Seyi started with us a peer tenant and it is great that he is now in the landlord role and doing very well.”

Simon Dow, Chair of the London Housing Foundation, said “All of our Andy Ludlow Awards shortlisted projects this year do an excellent job in different ways. It is encouraging that there is so much innovative and exciting work going on in the homelessness sector in London”

For more information about Thames Reach click here.

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