Young Foundation launches new housing innovation programme to unlock solutions in the private rented sector


As the Government focuses its recent budget on an overloaded, crisis-ridden housing sector, today (5/12/17) The Young Foundation launches its first Reimagining Rent ventures cohort, funded by the Nationwide Foundation.

Reimagining Rent is a unique programme working with innovative initiatives that are tackling many of the challenges of the private rented sector that have detrimental effects on people who are in need. These include affordability, shortage of supply, issues with regulation, access, quality and security of tenure. As rents continue to rise, the need for change – especially in high-cost areas – is urgent.

The Young Foundation’s cohort of innovative ventures includes:

Safer Renting designing and supporting pathways out of slum rentals for tenants.

Kineara’s Rent Support Programme working to prevent homelessness by supporting people who are in debt.

Community Sponsors Homes transforming the wheelchair accessible housing market.

Homeless Rooms matching empty rooms in supported accommodation to homeless people and sofa surfers who need somewhere to live.

RentSquare using technology and data to reduce the time properties sit empty, predict rent price sweet spots and let properties quickly.

Fifty Thousand Homes a business-led campaign to double house building in London, part of which includes an employer’s pledge.

RentProfile a trusted rental network of verified landlords and renters.

The Reimagining Rent programme will be running a 10-week programme with these initiatives to strengthen their models, demonstrate their social impact and grow their potential to scale. The programme will be delivered in other areas of the UK in subsequent years. It will also build alliances and networks with housing stakeholders to increase attention on housing innovation and attract investment, so that ultimately more people have access to safe, secure and affordable homes.

Jonathan Lewis, Programme Manager at the Nationwide Foundation said:

“The lack of decent affordable housing for people in need is one of our country’s most critical social issues. It damages not only individuals and families, but also whole communities too. We know that there are many organisations with brilliant and imaginative ideas about how to deliver the right sort of housing and that’s why we are thrilled to be supporting Reimagining Rent.

“Our ambition is that some of the ideas that are supported through this programme will show enough promise to leverage funding from other sources and will then gain momentum. We want to ensure that in 10 years’ time there are many more proven solutions underway, operating to protect and increase the supply of decent, affordable homes for those who need it.”

Helen Goulden, CEO of the Young Foundation said:

There are some distinct challenges posed within the private rental sector with huge variations in standards and quality of provision. As is so often the case, those who are vulnerable or on low incomes are disproportionately affected. Without very targeted support for innovative ventures to address these problems, it’s difficult to see how we would make any change at all. I’m really pleased that through Reimagining Rent we have an opportunity to show what’s possible.”