Homeless charity Crisis is asking landlords to back its latest campaign, lobbying the Government to support its plans to unlock private renting for homeless people by funding projects to help the homeless into accommodation and setting up a national rent deposit guarantee.
Here, in a guest blog for the RLA, Tom Say, Senior Campaigns Officer at Crisis explains how the move will be beneficial for the homeless and landlords alike.
“Landlords have a crucial role to play in ending homelessness. Yet many are understandably anxious about letting to homeless people, particularly if they have support needs or no money for a deposit. At Crisis we know how these barriers can be overcome, how landlords and homeless people can be supported to create homes that last and what role government needs to play. But we need your help to make it happen.
At Crisis, we’ve spent years supporting homeless people to find and, crucially, keep homes in the private rented sector. We also support small ‘help-to-rent’ projects across the country to do the same. We know the barriers that homeless people face can be overcome. We also understand the challenges that landlords face and that to solve homelessness through private renting we need solutions that work for you.
Earlier this year, a survey of 800 private landlords conducted for Crisis (with the help of the RLA) found that the vast majority now consider it too risky to rent to homeless people and are increasingly reluctant to rent to people supported by benefits. At the same time, a survey of homeless people found that nearly three-quarters said upfront costs had prevented them from securing a tenancy.
The RLA tell us their members would be much less reluctant to rent to homeless people if the perceived risks could be better managed. That’s exactly what help-to-rent projects do. In order to help homeless people become tenants they also support landlords, offering a single point of contact for both if anything goes wrong. Often, they offer bonds or guarantees to landlords in place of deposits.
But these projects aren’t everywhere and many are struggling for funding, meaning they can’t offer they kind of support we know works.
- fund local accredited projects wherever they are needed to work with landlords to help homeless people rent. The Government already knows these projects are cost effective and successful.
- set up a national rent deposit guarantee for projects to use in place of cash deposits. Underwriting this on a national scale would be more efficient and less confusing (for both homeless people and landlords) than the myriad local deposit schemes currently in operation. It would also free up vital funds for projects to do more of what they do best: supporting homeless people, vulnerable tenants and their landlords.
These are practical solutions based on evidence and experience. We need your help to make the case to Government – will you sign our open letter to Housing Minister Gavin Barwell and Chancellor Phillip Hammond?”
Find out more and take action here: www.crisis.org.uk/homenoless