If only this were true, there wouldn’t be a need for charities like CENS! Whether it’s the state of the economy, rental prices, or the individual’s own barriers, finding affordable housing is a hurdle (but not impossible). Here are four of the most common barriers:
Cost of living
All of us are feeling the effects of the rise in every day living prices, and that extends to people who own rental properties. Many people are selling up and forcing their tenants to leave under something called a section 21. This means that not only are more people becoming homeless, but there are less properties available to rent at all.
No affordable housing
Anyone who can’t work can claim Universal Credit. This benefit includes a ‘housing element’ which is to be put towards the cost of rent. However, the amount that is afforded by the local authority often leaves people at a shortfall. When you have to top up your rent by a few hundred pounds, pay bills, and do the food shop, it’s no wonder people are falling behind and getting into rent arrears
Deposit and guarantors
Let’s just say one of our guests was fortunate enough to find a room where they could afford the rent, most letting agents will still charge a deposit, first month’s rent and ask for a guarantor. Our residents tend to be estranged from their family and have no money up front.
The local authority does run a scheme where they will lend out this money, but not all landlords will accept this scheme. Finding a landlord that does is incredibly hard as there are so few.
Limited supported living
Often, we have people referring in who really need extra help with sustaining a tenancy. Whether they have mental health issues, substance misuse, learning difficulty or historic trauma, simply housing them is not enough.
These guests need on-going support to help them manage their tenancy and any additional needs. There are a few supported housing projects in the area, but the waiting lists are long and the rooms scarce.
If you have been moved by any of these facts, please consider becoming a monthly donor to CENS.