£45.5 million to help house the homeless in the private rented sector

Article Posted -
01 Mar 2019

The Ministry for Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced that £19.5 million will be shared amongst local authorities in England, to help the house the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

A further £26 million will be used to fund specialist support for vulnerable tenants struggling with mental health problems and substance misuse issues.

The £19.5million scheme which will involve 54 local authorities includes 15 London boroughs with varied regional representation through the participation of Manchester, Portsmouth, Norwich, Birmingham, Bristol and Exeter City Councils.

The 54 local authorities will be using the funding to support vulnerable tenants to overcome barriers relating to the costs of deposits and paying the first month’s rent, which enable them to have more options for their housing preferences.

The £26 million pot of funding is yet to be allocated but councils must submit their bids by 29 March 2019. Successful councils are expected to use the funding to:

  • Set up teams of specialist support workers to act as a single point of contact and provide mental health support, substance misuse counselling and housing advice services.
  • Create a dedicated letting agency for rough sleepers to provide help and advice to bring stability into their lives.
  • Establish Safe to Stay ‘hubs’ which can provide immediate shelter and tailored mental health support for rough sleepers.

MHCLG confirmed that the funding for both initiatives was financed from the £100 million rough sleeping strategy.

‘No DSS’

Housing minister Heather Wheeler also confirmed that MHCLG had plans to look into the discrimination of tenants on housing benefit with the aim being to completely curb such adverts. Efforts will involve engaging with industry representatives which will include, mortgage providers, tenant groups, landlord associations and property websites.

Heather Wheeler welcomed the news and said, “I want everyone to have the security, dignity and opportunities they need to build a better life – at the heart of which is ensuring everyone can find a safe and secure home to call their own.”

The Minister further added that, “funding will make a huge difference in opening up the private rented sector to people who need it and give them the chance to rebuild their lives.”

What the NLA is doing

The NLA recognises that a blanket ban on tenants in receipt of benefits can appear unfair and is poor practice. However, we continue to emphasise to Government the importance of landlords considering circumstances on a case-by-case basis, with landlords making a business decision on who to agree a tenancy with. You can find further information here and a briefing for landlords here.

What you can do

Landlords letting out to vulnerable tenants should continue engaging with their local authorities to help inform how this funding can help them sustain their tenancies.

A full list of the 54 councils that will receive the £19.5 million can be found here. Members can also contact policy@landlords.org.uk to share their experiences of letting to vulnerable tenants.

 

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