Landlords fund-raising for the homeless

by Dr Rosalind Beck

3 weeks ago

Landlords fund-raising for the homeless

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Landlords fund-raising for the homeless

We are interested in setting up a charity or alternatively setting up a crowdfunding page, to help the homeless. The idea is that private landlords, who already play a massive and critical role in housing in the UK – housing around 5 million households, including many who would otherwise be homeless – add to our role by making a further contribution to alleviate homelessness and the misery it causes.

Our main emphasis will be in helping to get roofs over people’s heads. We will stand apart from organisations like Shelter which provide no housing. This means that landlords who want to contribute in this way will have the opportunity of really helping.

I have started this thread with the aim of encouraging any ideas, offers of help and so on and we can see what interest there is in this and then take it further.

We can then also see, for example, what role the main landlord organisations may like to take – especially in encouraging their membership to donate, for example.

But we must get it right. It has to be concrete, practical help and we will all offer our time for free and stand to gain nothing from it personally.

Thoughts below please.

Comments

Great idea.

We could even get some media backing as they quite often run campaigns to help the homeless at this time of year.

john lown

3 weeks ago

Good thinking.
Our Parachute Regiment charity pays no salaries or expenses and we have raised £ 5.25M for wounded soldiers and the families of those killed in action.
Needs policing to prevent the less reputable feathering their own nest and donating very little to the cause.

LVW4

3 weeks ago

This would be an amazing opportunity to demonstrate that us 'smaller' landlords deliver a critical component of the UK's housing strategy, and that we are not 'money-grabbing parasites' as the likes of Shelter would have everyone believe.

Setting up as a charity should be the objective, and social media driven crowdfunding would be a start, but there would need to be a lot of governance around this. This would require a lot of time and commitment.

I am prepared to put time into this.

Robert Mellors

3 weeks ago

I set up a "not for profit" housing organisation in 2004. We are still running and we provide supported accommodation (hostels for the homeless, with ongoing personal and tenancy support). We currently have eight small hostels in Sheffield, providing housing and support to 29 residents.
We receive referrals from various homelessness organisations, rough sleeper teams, and day centres for the homeless, as well as from other homeless hostels, churches (faith based groups), and organisations that work with offenders, people with mental health issues, drug or alcohol issues, low level learning difficulties (so not entitled to Social Services help), physical disabilities, and care leavers.
We provide supported hostel accommodation for as many people as we can, not just for a very limited range of people (unlike services set up for "young people", or "ex-offenders", or other narrowly defined groups). We have residents ranging from about 20 years old, up to residents well into their 70's.
We provide support to residents via our two visiting Support Workers, who will work with the residents to help them put in place the necessary foundations for successfully re-settling into the community, breaking the cycle of homelessness, and contributing back to society (e.g. reducing crime, reducing drug/alcohol use, taking on roles as volunteers at local charities), and eventually resuming employment and independent living in their own self-contained accommodation.
The organisation is a "company limited by guarantee" which ensures that it has to be a "not for profit" company, so any surplus is re-invested into the company to continue, improve, or expand, the provision of the service. Since we started in 2004, we have helped 457 people by providing them with the housing and support that they need.
We receive no government funding, and no charitable/grant funding, we rely on receipt of rent (usually via Housing Benefit) for the running costs of the hostels, but the cost of the Support Workers has to be funded elsewhere (HB will not fund the personal support).
To enable us to fund the Support Workers, we have had to be innovative, so we set up a "for profit" commercial utilities brokerage service, and the commissions we earn from this help to pay for the Support Workers.
Finding funds to pay the Support Workers is the factor that prevents us from providing much more supported hostel accommodation. If we could fund more Support Workers, then we could provide accommodation for many more homeless people.
I would be happy to share this business model with Property118 as a potential model for your proposed homelessness charity.

Dr Rosalind Beck

3 weeks ago

I agree that no-one should gain financially from it and that every penny should be used for the homeless with us all giving our time for free. All who are interested should give their email addresses to Neil at 118 and he can pass them to me. What about 'Landlords Against Homelessness ' as a title?

Mark Alexander

3 weeks ago

Assuming this gets off the ground, how is it proposed that funds donated would be used?

If I could be satisfied on the above I would consider contributing financially but not with time.

Richard U

3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 29/11/2017 - 11:22
Robert sounds like you do some excellent work. How do you find the hostels?

Richard U

3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard U at 29/11/2017 - 11:37
That should read ‘fund’

Robert Mellors

3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard U at 29/11/2017 - 11:37
Hi Richard

The hostels are houses/flats that are leased from private landlords on 5 or 6 year commercial leases, so there is no major capital outlay, and no mortgages (so no s24 Tenant Tax effect).

The hostel running costs (including the rents paid to the property owners) of the hostels is provided for within the residents' rent and service charges, with the majority of this being eligible for Housing Benefit, and the small ineligible amount is paid by the hostel residents (via direct deductions from their welfare benefits).

The cost of providing the personal support to the residents cannot be funded by Housing Benefit (it is not allowed) so an alternative source of funding is required, hence the setting up of the commercial utilities brokerage, who's commission earnings I donate in full to pay towards the salaries of the Support Workers.

If there were more commission earnings, (or other non- Housing Benefit funding), then there could be more Support Workers, and the hostel provision could expand. At the moment, there is no problem obtaining more properties to use as hostels, the problem is funding the Support Workers to provide the support to the residents of any additional hostels.

If Property118 were to set up a similar scheme, then they would simply use the landlords donations to fund as many Support Workers as their money allows, while all the other costs are fully covered by the rents charged.

The provision of the Support Workers is crucial, it cannot be done without the right level (and type) of support being provided.

May I call upon any landlords who have empty properties for whatever reason to consider they be used as hostels. This would need to be a nationwide venture and not just operating in small pockets. Not sure it would be viable. At present I have a property in Leeds that could become a hostel in return for mortgage coverage only on a none profit basis. This would be a great gesture and could turn public opinion. Have to prevent myself from going bankrupt first though and stay in the game before committing. Nice idea. Lets see if it can gather momentum. If it does I may be able to contribute some time.

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