A charity project promoting equality and diversity in the Welsh PRS, to be delivered by the RLA, has been awarded a £249,425 lottery grant.
The grant was awarded to Tai Pawb to set up and run the Open Doors project, a two year scheme to provide tenants from minority groups, landlords and letting agents in the PRS the knowledge, skills and confidence to prevent and reduce discrimination.
The organisation, which promotes equality in housing, was given the cash from the Big Lottery People and Places Fund to carry out a project promoting equality in the private rented sector in South Wales.
The project will support, advise on and raise awareness of key rights, responsibilities and solutions amongst private tenants from diverse groups, such as migrants, LGBT or disabled tenants, who are at greater risk of experiencing specific tenancy issues.
At the same time, with the help from RLA, Open Doors will work with private landlords and letting agents, to improve their capacity to deal with issues related to equality and diversity.
Run in partnership with the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in Wales, the scheme will be delivered in Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan and Merthyr Tydfil areas.
It will reach more than 2,000 people with activities such as training, an innovative online hub, published guides, a helpline, drop-ins and referrals to local support provision or direct assistance where gaps exist and finally events.
A key element of the Open Doors project will be the introduction of Tenant and Landlord Champions who will act as project ambassadors and advocates by learning new skills, enabling them to contribute to running and shaping the project.
Douglas Haig, Vice-Chairman and RLA Director for Wales said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to support the diversity of the private rented sector and its ability to house those with a range of diverse and complex needs.
“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Tai Pawb and the Big Lottery and raise awareness of some of the issues that can be faced by those that they support and how small changes and a little bit of education of landlords and tenants can create long term sustainable tenancies.
“I believe it will further show how the private rented sector is helping house a huge range of needs in safe and secure homes.”
Rona Aldrich, Wales Committee Member for the Big Lottery Fund, said:
“Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales.
“It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.”
Alicja Zalesinska, Director of Tai Pawb, said: We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the People and Places Grant.
It will not only enable us to support and empower some of the most vulnerable private sector tenants dealing with difficult housing issues but also guide and raise awareness amongst landlords who house them in times of unprecedented housing pressures, rising inequality and poverty.
“The overwhelming majority of landlords we spoke to wanted additional support on equality issues. That’s why it was so important for us to develop something that will work with both groups, empowering them to act to prevent discrimination and mistreatment in the sector.
“We look forward to the coming months where we will be recruiting staff and setting up this vital project.”