£600k boost for vulnerable private renters in Greater Manchester

A new test and learn fund, part of Greater Manchester’s Fair Housing Futures project, has been allocated today to a range of radical interventions which seek to make life better for the region’s private tenants. The £600k fund, supported by the Nationwide Foundation and administered by housing charity Shelter, has been granted to new ideas which will help people overcome barriers to finding and maintaining a tenancy in an affordable private rented home.

The test and learn fund forms part of the Nationwide Foundation’s wider funding of Fair Housing Futures, totalling £1.2m, targeted in Greater Manchester and its overheated private housing market.

The five successful bids are:

  • The Bond Board’s private rented sector navigators The Bond Board’s private rented sector navigators will do outreach work with letting agents to prevent homelessness by dealing with welfare benefit queries and reducing rent arrears. Training will also be given to letting agents about Universal Credit, to help remove the barriers often experienced when vulnerable people need toto rent properties.
  • Salford City Council’s private rented sector Tenancy Support Officer A partnership model between social housing providers and private rented sector landlords will enable the private rented sector to benefit from the expertise of those providing social homes.
  • Wigan Council’s Tenant Champion A new tenants’ champion will work to tackle concerns about poor property management standards, whilst building relationships between landlords and tenants, to create an engaged and supportive community.
  • Justlife’s Outreach/Landlord Liaison Officer This project will improve the experiences of those living in the 50 unsupported temporary accommodation properties identified across Greater Manchester. Justlife will provide information and support to both landlords and tenants.
  • Acorn’s Renters Voice Manchester This builds on Acorn’s work as a community union, to help it grow and build capacity. Acorn will be listening to and representing vulnerable tenants across Greater Manchester.  

Bridget Young, Programme Manager at the Nationwide Foundation, said: “Fair Housing Futures is a collaborative project, using a local partnership approach to giving funding and support to projects that have ideas to improve life for renters. At the Nationwide Foundation, we have a long-term commitment to making sure everyone has a decent home that they can afford, and we’re thrilled that a part of this work is an attempt to transform the private rented sector in Greater Manchester.

“We look forward to learning from the test and learn fund projects and working with Fair Housing Futures to change things for the better in Greater Manchester and then share that learning further afield.”

Shelter’s Roli Barker, project manager for Fair Housing Futures, said: “Everyday our Shelter front-line services hear from people in life-changing trouble, as a total lack of social housing pushes more and more people into unstable private rentals. Private rented homes can be hard to secure and impossible to afford. The insecurity and threat of eviction can be hugely disruptive for people, especially families with children or vulnerable people.

“This funding from the Nationwide Foundation is an incredible opportunity to create a network of local projects that gets right to the heart of the issues that can hurt vulnerable private renters every day. We want to leave a legacy of practical solutions, that make access to housing not only easier, but fairer.”

Work related to Fair Housing Futures started in 2017 and is scheduled to take up to five years.

More information about this funding