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Private rented access scheme for homeless youths gets £80,000 boost

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Private rented access scheme for homeless youths gets £80,000 boost

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Bristol Bristol

Youth homelessness charity Independent People has successfully bid for just under £40,000 to develop a Private Rented Sector (PRS) access scheme for young people in Bristol - and Bristol City Council has agreed to match-fund the project bringing the total up to almost £80,000 over two years.

A programme which has helped over 300 single homeless people in the South West into private rented accommodation since 2010 will be expanded in the region with more than £160,000 of funding, the national charity for single homeless people, Crisis, has announced.

Gus Hoyt, the council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, equality and the environment, said: "As a council we supported the bid by Crisis for this new funding. I am extremely happy to hear they secured this fund which will provide additional help to enable homeless people, enabling them to secure and keep a decent home. With appropriate support they can begin to rebuild their lives."

The PRS Access Development Programme, administered by Crisis and funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), provides 120 PRS Access Schemes across England that specialise in breaking down the barriers single homeless people face when getting into and keeping hold of a decent rented home. Nationally, the scheme has helped 4,000 homeless people into decent homes since 2010.

The scheme recruits and supports landlords and offers assistance and advice to tenants on finding suitable accommodation, paying a deposit and rent in advance and helps with budgeting and paying bills amongst other services.

The programme started in January 2010 and by the end of 2012 a total of 3,917 tenancies had been created by its 120 schemes.

Leslie Morphy, Crisis' chief executive, said: "To have already helped 4,000 homeless people into decent homes is an incredible achievement for the PRS Access Development Programme and the local organisations working hard to support tenants and landlords. Challenging conditions in the private rented sector make this work difficult but all the more important as people struggle to make ends meet.

"Today’s announcement of funding is for a further 23 schemes that will focus on helping particularly vulnerable people with no home of their own including young people and those leaving prison – groups that too often struggle to find a home and have often not been a priority for assistance through other schemes and programmes."

The housing minister, Mark Prisk, said: "This government has a strong safety net in place to prevent homelessness and Crisis’ programme has been a vital part of this, helping nearly 4,000 vulnerable people in just two years.

"That’s why today I’m providing 1.2 million to extend that support even further. With another 23 areas on board, the scheme is set to help many more single people at risk of homelessness to find and keep the long-term home they need, providing the safety and security to get their lives back on track."

Independent People's chief executive, Dom Wood, said: "There are increasing numbers of people on waiting lists for social housing and the demand continues to outstrip provision. It is essential that the Private Rented Sector meets the need of young people who need somewhere to live. Traditionally young people have had less access to this sector due to lower salaries, benefits and the sometimes held beliefs of how challenging young people can be. We're looking forward to working with private landlords to set up a scheme which helps the next generation of private renters get into the market, supports the young person's needs
to move into independent living and reduces the burden on social and supported housing waiting lists."

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