MPs from the cross-party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness have spoken out on the need to help homeless people into the private rental sector.
Working with homelessness charity Crisis, the MPs says the key deterrents now are homeless people finding it hard to afford the upfront costs of renting, plus landlords often considering it too risky to rent to them. Ongoing issues relating to the delivery of Universal Credit are adding to the problem with only 20 per cent of private landlords saying they would rent to people supported by Universal Credit.
Now the MPs, along with Crisis and the National Landlords Association and Residential Landlords Association, are calling on the government to commit £31m a year to help homeless people into renting through ‘Help to Rent’ projects and by funding a national rent deposit guarantee scheme.
They say Help to Rent projects can help alleviate landlords’ concerns by providing training for tenants, ongoing tenancy support and services for landlords.
At the same time the schemes build strong relationships with landlords and reasons for benefit delays are explained as well as the steps being taken to address them. Homeless people are also supported to overcome financial obstacles to renting, such as the need for a deposit, fees and rent upfront, making them less risky tenants.
Will Quince, Conservative MP and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, says: “If the Government is to make Universal Credit work for everyone then they need to make sure the most vulnerable are protected. That’s where ‘Help to Rent’ projects come in – a simple and cost-effective solution that works for both homeless people and landlords.”
Neil Coyle, Labour MP and the other co-chair of the group, adds: “We must ensure that Universal Credit doesn’t make things worse for people facing homelessness – or indeed, cause them to lose their home. Help to Rent projects can help to mitigate some of the worst impacts, offering benefits to tenants, landlords and the public purse, and I hope the Chancellor will listen to our concerns as he prepares to deliver his Budget next month.”