The Young Foundation

The Young Foundation

Funding at a glance

Programme: Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System
Amount: £248,026
Approved: 2017
Timescale: 30 months
Status: Funding complete

A supported programme working with innovative initiatives that are tackling the problems of affordability and decency in the private rented sector.

Why we funded this project

To support the development and scaling up of affordable private rented sector housing innovations.

Strategic purpose

More ideas exist on how to protect and increase the supply of decent, affordable homes.

Project summary

The Young Foundation believes that innovation can play a significant role in improving the experiences of tenants in the private rented sector. Using funding from the Nationwide Foundation, it launched Reimaging Rent; a unique programme working with innovative initiatives that are tackling the problems of affordability and decency in the private rented sector.

Reimagining Rent supported these innovations to make the private rented sector work better for vulnerable people and those on low incomes. It strengthened the innovations’ models, demonstrated their social impact and grew their potential to scale. Organisations each received a tailored package of mentoring, financial coaching, workshops and access to potential investors and funders.

The Young Foundation also built alliances and networks with housing stakeholders to increase attention on housing innovation and attract investment, so that ultimately more people will have access to safe, secure and affordable homes.

The first cohort of innovations into the Reimagining Rent programme began in December 2017 and were:

  • Homeless Rooms – A website to match empty rooms, primarily in exempt supported accommodation flats and houses, to homeless people and sofa surfers.
  • Cambridge House Safer Renting – An innovative crisis intervention model to provide specialist advice, advocacy and support to the most vulnerable tenants, including those who are victims of criminal landlords and are least likely to know their rights or access advice.
  • RentSquare – An algorithm that predicts affordable rent prices and uses technology to let properties quickly, reducing void periods down to 10 days and passing those savings onto tenants.
  • 50K Homes – Developing the employer housing pledge, which encourages employers to assist their employees to meet their housing costs and is part of a business-led campaign to double housebuilding in London by 2020.
  • Rent Profile – Technology to enable landlords and tenants to self-background check, create a unique profile and demonstrate credentials and good rental history.
  • Community Sponsors Homes – The UK’s first residential impact investment fund investing in wheelchair accessible properties to rent.
  • Kineara – A social enterprise working to keep private tenants in their homes by preventing eviction and resolving rent arrears issues, including addressing the causes of rent.

The second cohort began in September 2018 and were:

  • Ethical Rental Sector – HMOs that provide reliably affordable and decent quality rental housing for London employees (similar to key workers) who are routinely paid insufficient wages to allow them to rent privately at market rate.
  • GetRentr A service that gathers data on property licensing regulations and notifies landlords and agents of those that affect their properties to improve compliance and raise standards in the private rented sector.
  • Homeshare UK – Part of Shared Lives Plus, a service that brings together people with spare rooms with tenants who are happy to chat and lend a hand around the house in return for affordable rent in sociable homes.
  • The Kohab – Intergenerational living, bringing old and young adults together under one roof to live in mutual support. Younger residents pay discounted rent to live in The Kohab’s retirement schemes where they support their older neighbours and reduce loneliness and social isolation.
  • Sharing Solutions – A partnership between Crisis and the London Borough of Lewisham, working to create a model of how affordable shared housing can be provided to single, young people on low incomes as part of a new mixed-tenure housing development in an area of high housing costs.
  • Smart Renter – A web app created by Housing Rights that provides tenants with clear, straightforward advice and support on renting in the private sector in Northern Ireland.
  • Your Own Place CIC – Developing and running workshops with private landlords to help them understand how to let their properties to young, vulnerable tenants who are claiming benefits.

The third cohort began in November 2019 and the chosen projects were:

  • Fat Macys – A social enterprise, supporting people experiencing homelessness. This ‘micro-hostel’ concept offers homeless people a place to live, while taking part in work experience or training within Fat Macy’s catering and supper club enterprise.
  • Branch Properties – A specialist estate and lettings agency which provides high quality, accessible housing for disabled people and has ambitious plans to create a national network of accommodation for people with accessibility needs.
  • LivShare – A new, flexible and low rent housing model based on purpose-built, shared houses, designed to offer communal living spaces with high quality, private bedrooms.
  • Advice4Renters – An action group focused on ensuring that all tenants have access to quality advice, advocacy and representation regardless of their income. Advice4Renters is the only legal advice agency operating in London to support private tenants.
  • Mortar – A tenant-led, tech-for-good, property management service protecting vulnerable tenants from data misuse. It uses open banking technology to promote transparency, enabling tenants to take control of their rent payments, and provides debt management advice and services to those in need.
  • QIQO – QIQO provides affordable co-living for key workers, through the acquisition of unsold Section 106 allocated property.

The Young Foundation

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