Housing charity Shelter has announced the launch of a £600,000 fund it is hosting, with the aim of improving the private rental sector (PRS) in Manchester.
The money is being provided by the Nationwide Foundation and is part of the £1.2 million Fair Housing Futures project, which aims to help Manchester's vulnerable tenants.
The scheme is calling for local organisations such as tenant groups and housing associations to showcase their ideas in order to receive funding from the £600,000 grant.
"This is an incredible opportunity for us as a city to help ourselves, to create a network of funded local projects that get right to the heart of the issues facing our vulnerable private renters," says Shelter's Roli Barker, project manager for Fair Housing Futures.
"We want to leave a legacy of practical solutions, that make access to housing not only easier, but fairer."
Barker says that a lack of social housing in Manchester has pushed more people into 'unstable private rentals'.
Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and Greater Manchester’s lead for housing, homelessness and infrastructure, and who sits on the Fair Housing Futures board, comments: "Whilst for most [the PRS] is a good alternative, a small minority of unscrupulous landlords are exploiting vulnerable tenants and dragging down whole communities through mismanagement and negligence."
"In Greater Manchester we’re working to fix this, to ensure everyone has a decent, secure and safe home. Through our work we’ll be supporting tenants, recognising good landlords and using all the powers and legislation at our disposal to make sure that unscrupulous landlords are forced out of our communities for good."
Leigh Pearce, chief executive of the Nationwide Foundation, adds: "This work will help tenants who are struggling with affordability and trapped in poor quality rented homes. The fund will test solutions to challenges faced by vulnerable, disadvantaged and low-income tenants."
"Because the fund is not constrained by statutory obligations, it can be used creatively, and we look forward to seeing some innovative and smart ideas come through."
She says she hopes that successes in Manchester will eventually 'trailblaze vital improvements' to the PRS across the UK.
Any organisations applying for funding must either be based in Greater Manchester or have a partner applicant who is based in Greater Manchester.