The National Landlords Association (NLA) is on the panel of Crisis’s Private Rented Sector Access Development Program, which award funds to specific homelessness projects in the UK. Here, David Hewitt, outgoing Head of Private Renting and Housing Developments at Crisis, explains more about the program…
Crisis was awarded £10 million over three years by the government to deliver the Private Rented Sector Access Development Programme and help some of the most vulnerable people in our community to find and make a success of private renting.
Single people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness are the lowest priority for social housing and Crisis has been finding ways to improve the assistance available to them for nearly 15 years. However, in too many local areas, there are still no services available to help people out of homelessness and into private renting. Often when they do exist, they are only available to families rather than single people.
Under the development programme, not-for-profit organisations can apply for funding to set up a PRS access scheme and help those at risk. Crisis also provides training and advice to those that receive the funding and the involvement of the NLA has enabled us to tap into the local landlord networks.
We’ve recently selected 74 new schemes (from 210 applications) which will benefit those at risk of homelessness in their local area. They are geographically spread from Cornwall in the South West to Middlesbrough in the North East. We expect well over 2,000 people to receive help in finding and keeping a tenancy over the next year. The details will be published on www.privaterentedsector.org.uk by the end of November.
The NLA joined Crisis, the Department for Communities and Local Government, Homeless Link and the Ministry of Justice on the panel to decide which schemes received funding.
From the tenant’s side the PRS access scheme will ensure that the property is of a good standard and that they receive the support necessary to make the tenancy a success. Landlords are reassured that tenants have been properly assessed and prepared for renting privately, that the tenancy is being supported and that there is someone that they can call if issues do arise.
The first round of schemes started back in February this year and have already helped over 800 people into private rented accommodation with over 95% of those tenancies still ongoing.
With homelessness rising and the cuts to housing benefit making it harder for everyone it is more important than ever to broker partnerships between tenants and landlords.
We look forward to continuing to work with the NLA on this and other programmes to tackle homelessness.