Nationwide Foundation £1.2 m ‘Fair Housing Futures’ project hosted by Shelter

Nationwide Foundation £1.2 m ‘Fair Housing Futures’ project hosted by Shelter

11:58 AM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago 16

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A £600,000 pot of funding launched in Greater Manchester aims to find real-life solutions to the housing problems facing thousands of vulnerable private renters in the city.

Funded by the Nationwide Foundation and hosted by housing charity Shelter, the £1.2 million Fair Housing Futures project seeks to address the challenges of accessing and living in Greater Manchester’s private rented sector, that are faced by tenants with limited financial and social support.

The scheme is now calling for local organisations such as tenants’ groups, housing associations, and organisations covering planning, development and even health and well-being, to apply to have their ideas backed with cash from a £600,000 grant fund.

Shelter’s Roli Barker,project manager for Fair Housing Futures, said:“We know from our Shelter front line services that the lack of social housing in Manchester is pushing more people into unstable private rentals.

“This funding from the Nationwide Foundation 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. We want to leave a legacy of practical solutions, that make access to housing not only easier, but fairer.”

The project has already mapped out how sky-high rents and poor conditions across Greater Manchester leave many vulnerable renters struggling to survive in what Shelter describes as a broken private rented system.

This research will help the project’s partnership board to distribute £600,000 of grant funding to organisations in Greater Manchester over the next three years, as they work to test and develop successful applications.

Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and Greater Manchester’s lead for housing, homelessness and infrastructure, and who sits on the Fair Housing Futures board, said: “With social and council housing becoming increasingly oversubscribed, more people are often being forced into the private rented sector. Whilst for most this 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 on the private rented sector 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.

“Shelter’s Fair Housing Futures programme and grant funding will help us make sure the private rented sector in Greater Manchester works for all our communities and neighbourhoods – landlords and tenants together.”

Leigh Pearce, Chief Executive of the Nationwide Foundation, said: “The private rented sector has changed massively in recent years and needs to undergo significant redesign. It’s only right that we should make rented homes places where tenants are treated with respect and can truly feel happy and settled.

“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 in the private rented sector in Greater Manchester. 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.

“We’ve chosen this mayoral authority to work in as we see enormous appetite for modernisation of housing policy and practice in Greater Manchester. However, the fears and struggles facing tenants in Greater Manchester are sadly not unique, and we hope that the successes here will eventually trail-blaze vital improvements to the private rented sector right across the UK.”

Organisations applying for funding must either be based in Greater Manchester or have a partner applicant who is based in Greater Manchester.

Case Study:

Selina used to run a successful Manchester sandwich business, but when it folded due to late payments by the companies she supplied, she was soon tipped into sofa-surfing and homelessness. After applying as homeless to the council, she was placed in “temporary” accommodation – where she’s now been for 24 months.

“When I first declared myself homeless the council put me in a hotel for a week, then I went to women’s council hostel for a month, then I went into their sister hostel for 3 months, and then I came here to another temporary flat.  I’m in rent arrears from my previous place, because I got behind on my rent. But that means I can’t yet get on Manchester Move, to apply for social housing, and I’m trapped.

“Knowing what I know about private renting, I probably wouldn’t choose it. It’s unreliable, and for some landlords, it’s just like a meat market isn’t it?

“One big problem here is having storage heaters, because they’re so expensive. For someone with not a lot of money, you have two options, you either sit in the cold, or you spend a fortune on heating. My heating would cost more than £120 per month.

“I think what’s happened is the homelessness issue just went ‘boom’ and spiralled out of control and became unmanageable. So many people are just getting shoved into places without them being inspected, because there’s no housing. We just need more housing, and I feel our problems as private renters are just being painted over.”

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Dr Rosalind Beck

12:32 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

So many questions here. How come they are trying to solve alleged problems in the PRS without asking landlords for their input? What are these euphemistically titled 'creative' solutions going to be? Why is an organisation which funds mortgages in the PRS working with Shelter who constantly campaign against the sector as a whole? Surely Nationwide should be partnering with the PRS and not with an anti-PRS 'charity' which offers no 'real-life' solutions - as the solutions are to provide actual housing. That is 'real life.'
And with regard to the case study, how come having got into rent arrears the person then slags off the sector as though she is a victim of it? It appears more that her ex-landlord was the victim as they are the ones who lost out financially from taking her on as a tenant.

Martin Roberts

12:40 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

I notice Shelter are 'Hosting' rather than chipping in a little of their £60,000,000 plus annual income.

Real World solutions require Real World money.


13:49 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

If Shelter used this money, and perhaps some of its own, to provide rent guarantees for tenants then the problem would perhaps not be solved but considerably eased.


14:13 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

I agree with both Dr Rosalind Beck and Martin Roberts. The problem of trying to house an ever increasing population into less and less available accommodation is now really starting to bite. There many competing arguments with no organisation or government with any clout willing take the arguments onboard.
1) Too many people. There are many radical solutions here but much of it will be uncomfortable for many to grasp, e.g. free world-wide birth control measures which go against many religious doctrines, population movement control which will upset about half the population and so on. One person’s right to occupy a property at the expense of another is particularly contentious.
2) Too little available accommodation. This is also a multi-faceted can of worms. Potential solutions such as:
- Wholesale release of Greenfield land only adds to the problem in the long term and puts extreme pressure on Green Belt policies.
- Develop brown field sites, but don't expect to private purse to foot the entire bill for the toxic cleanup. Government & council housing departments should expect to contribute.
If there is too much development (as in the Southeast), a shortage of infrastructure quickly develops such as schools, surgeries, water/sewerage distribution, road capacity, etc.

On balance and in the short term, redeveloping defunct commercial, warehouse and industrial premises with government and council assistance could allow the PRS to provide temporary, permanent or semi-permanent accommodation with councils playing an active part with grants and planning permission.
What happens next is up to society as a whole to debate and solve.


14:33 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

I'm sick hearing about 'vulnerable tenants' what about the penniless 'vulnerable' L.L.s who have to pick up the pieces after these s---- ----s have gone??? It's ok for all the 'do gooders' rabbiting on but outside of their cosy offices the real world is not so cute. I call on ALL L/Ls to write to these people and tell them so. I've already e-mailed James Brokenshire just yesterday re' abolishing section 21. We need to be heard!

Old Mrs Landlord

14:55 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

I've got an "innovative and smart solution" to "the challenges faced by vulnerable, disadvantaged and low-income tenants", how about increasing the housing benefit rates to a level which matches market rents and ensuring this money goes to the landlord in full and on time.


15:45 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 13/05/2019 - 14:55
The "Thought Police" will be after you for such radical views !!!

Kathy Evans

16:00 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

Are we supposed to feel sorry for the woman in the case study who didn't pay her rent, when she was probably being paid benefits to cover it?


16:37 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

Birth control would appear to be a buy product of licensing, as once a baby comes along the room is too small and they have to be evicted.

so thanks to the councils its roof or baby.


16:44 PM, 13th May 2019, About 4 years ago

The unmitigated bias in the above report, and emotive trolling to continue coating tenants as victims, is shameless - it is a tragedy that Shelter insist on this viewpoint to the detriment of the tenants they proclaim to "help".
Good tenants are happily, and happy to be, housed in the private sector and statistics prove this. The reason for the shortage in social housing is a number blame. And that blame can be attributed to organisations like Shelter who insist that non paying tenants be given sympathy as opposed to the landlord forced to bear the brunt of this entitled and overly legislated attitude. If the tenant cannot afford the rent no amount of landlord bashing is going to make the landlord carry on providing a home.
There is a decided if not deliberate dismissal in acknowledging that landlords have mandatory costs to service. Unlike a non paying tenant who can rack up thousands of pounds in unpaid rental, damages and utilities, a landlord would lose his property to the mortgage lender if he attempted to emulate like behavior. It's a fundamental fact.
The roof over your head is NOT free.
Shelter would be better employed educating tenants in this basic tenet.
It would save them, and the UK working population, from the growing social housing demand that is clearly of Shelter's own making.
Don't expect me as a landlord to support this.

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