New partnership formed to tackle homelessness and bad housing
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing
Key players move to position private rented sector as tenure of choice to solve housing crisis
Flat and house share website SpareRoom.co.uk has teamed up with housing charity Shelter to tackle bad housing and homelessness.
The partnership, which has come together in response to the issues faced by England’s growing ‘generation rent’, hopes to raise £75,000 this year through its 'Home for Good' initiative to support those struggling within England's rental market.
Research by SpareRoom found that, after tax and other deductions, 31% of English renters spend more than half their take-home pay on rent. Another 36% spend between a third and half of their salary on rent. SpareRoom's data also shows rents rising on average 7% a year.
It is hoped that the money raised through 'Homes for Good' could help more than 21,000 people facing housing problems by funding Shelter’s free helpline.
Over the next 12 months, a mixture of staff fundraising, corporate giving and donations from SpareRoom’s 3.8 million registered users will help Shelter’s advisers to provide vital support to people with issues ranging from confusion about deposit protection to struggling to pay their rent.
Shelter is also supporting SpareRoom’s ‘Raise the Roof’ campaign, which calls on the government to raise the rent a room scheme tax-free threshold to reflect the current rental market.
Rents have more than doubled since 1997 when the threshold was last raised - to £4,250 per annum. The campaign pushes for the threshold to be raised to £7,500 per annum, and increase year-on-year in line with inflation.
Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom's director, said: “With nine million people now in rented accommodation in England alone, the situation is simply unsustainable. In urban areas like London, demand for affordable rental property is so high, and the market is so chronically under-supplied, that many people simply can’t afford to live there. We want to ensure that people aren’t driven to living in unsuitable, damp or overcrowded accommodation, unaware of their right to live in a safe environment.
“SpareRoom and Shelter both play vital roles in the rental sector, offering free and comprehensive advice and helping people find affordable accommodation. Our common goals are the driving force behind us wanting to raise funds for Shelter’s helpline - a go-to place for much-needed support.”
Tracy Griffin, director of fundraising at Shelter, said: “We’re delighted to be working with SpareRoom on the Homes for Good partnership, which will help us to reach thousands more people in desperate need of housing advice.
“Our helpline is open 365 days of the year with advisers on hand to help people ranging from those with nowhere to sleep that night, to people living in homes in dangerous disrepair, or renters unsure of their rights.
“We believe that no one should have to live in bad housing and with the support from SpareRoom our advisers can make an important difference over the next couple of years.”