Private rented housing scheme to tackle homelessness is launched

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Birmingham City Council launched a scheme connecting the homeless to private property landlords in a bid to tackle the displaced in the city.

It provides incentives to landlords who offer 12-month fixed tenancies to those on the council’s homeless and housing registers.

Already 93 households from the council’s homeless register were identified and paired with landlords who have used the scheme to accept new tenancies.

Cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, Cllr Sharon Thompson said homelessness has risen exponentially during the last decade with the lack of affordable housing.

Cllr Sharon Thompson

“With 13,000 people on its housing register, the council on its own can no longer meet the current level of demand needed to prevent homelessness across the city. It’s therefore imperative that we unlock the potential of the private rented sector to provide housing for those who are most in need,” she said.

The landlords will be able to select from a range of assurances such as landlord insurance, rental deposits or rental guarantees, that are often barriers to accepting those who are either on benefits, the council’s housing register or low-income families as tenants.

However, some voiced their concerns about it saying providing financial incentives only will not be enough.

Alex Lo, a landlord based in Aston, said a lack of a guarantor is a major issue about this scheme.

Alex Lo

“There is always the fear of them not properly looking after the property. And if I’m letting a homeless person stay at the premises I would want to know more about the background information as to why that person is homeless.

“There are many questions that need answering. If however, those issues were addressed, the incentive would be good,” he said speaking to Birmingham Eastside.

Birmingham recorded around 100 rough sleepers in 2019 making it the 4th largest region with rough sleepers across the UK.

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