The Mayor of London is investing £15m in a new scheme that aims to purchase hundreds of homes for Londoners who have been, or are at risk of becoming, homeless.
The scheme will purchase around 330 existing private properties in good condition, and let them at genuinely affordable rents to some of the most vulnerable Londoners, helping them to get back on their feet into independent living.
The properties will offer individuals and families who are ready to move on from hostels and other temporary accommodation and live independently in a stable, affordable home. Tenants will also be able to access wider support to help them move into training and employment.
The scheme, “Real Lettings Property Fund 2” will be run by Resonance Limited, a social impact investment company, and homelessness charity St Mungo’s. On top of City Hall’s £15m, the London boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth and Westminster have committed a total £45m to the scheme. Resonance hope to get the support of other boroughs and investors to reach the fund target of £100m.
The scheme builds on the success of two similar projects already being run by Resonance and St Mungo’s. All three funds have housed approximately 1,300 people to date, with data from the longest-running fund showing 100% of tenants sustained their tenancy for more than six months, and 44% now in employment.
The second round of grants from the Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund are now available to bid for. The fund, launched last April, provides grants to small-scale, innovative projects to pilot original ideas and develop new services. Seven projects were awarded grants in the first round of funding, including Beam, the world’s first scheme for crowdfunding employment training for homeless people, helping them to progress towards stable, paid work. The second round of £200,000 is now available, ranging from £10,000 to £80,000 and bids that include match-funding will be prioritised. All bids must be supported by a London borough, and the next round of projects will start in April 2018.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The scale of homelessness in our capital is shocking and we are doing everything we can to tackle it. By providing opportunities for homeless Londoners to leave temporary emergency accommodation, we can help them move on with their lives in an affordable, stable home of their own.
“I will do all I can with local authorities, social enterprises, and innovative new projects to help people who are homeless or sleeping rough — but we also need government to play its part. They must fully fund services to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, and tackle the long-term causes of homelessness including by investing more in social housing and reconsidering many of their changes to the welfare system.”
The Real Lettings Property Fund 2 is available for a maximum of nine years and the Mayor’s funding, invested from his Affordable Homes Programme Innovation Fund, will be repaid on a quarterly basis from rental income and the property sales at the end of the term.