£18,000 to help those who fall through the cracks

Did you know, councils must legally help pregnant women, families and vulnerable people when they are faced with homelessness? This means there are certain members of society - like single adults - who can fall through the cracks.

After Steve’s (pictured above) relationship broke down, he moved into a shared house.  He was doing well there but unfortunately fell ill with a bad case of pneumonia. This meant a long hospital stay and whilst there, the other tenants in the house didn’t pass on his rent to the landlord. This resulted in his landlord throwing him out.

Steve was now homeless and with the council unable to help, one of his only options was to get together a deposit and one month’s rent for a private property. We all know how stressful gathering these funds can be even when you have a job, your health and a support system of family and friends to help you out. For people like Steve, getting together this amount of money can seem impossible. This is where charities such as Elmbridge Rentstart and The Lantern Trust come in, and why The DPS charity fund recently issued grants of £8,000 and £10,000 respectively to both institutions.

These charities work with local authorities to run a deposit guarantee scheme. A deposit guarantee scheme gives a private landlord a written guarantee - known as a bond - instead of a cash deposit. Most landlords are wary when dealing with people who aren’t in full time employment. These charities provide a guarantee to cover any damage to the property or unpaid rent, thus removing the usual financial risk that puts most landlords off giving tenants a chance.

Surrey based charity Elmbridge Rentstart helped Steve find a house he could afford, provided a six month bond on his deposit and paid his first month's rent.

"Without Rentstart's help I would probably have been dead," he said.

"I wouldn't have known where to start looking for benefits. I wouldn't have even known benefits were available. I would have been on the streets in the winter and I probably wouldn't have seen the winter through."



PHOTO: Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS (right), hands a £10,000 donation to representatives of The Lantern Trust.

The Lantern Trust was established in 1983 and covers the regions of Weymouth and Portland. They also seek to benefit vulnerable and marginalised people in the area through its bond scheme, resource centre and by working closely and professionally with other agencies. Michael Graham of the charity said: “We’re really happy to have The DPS’ help in providing support to vulnerable people in the community.”

Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS, said:

“It’s really important to The DPS to be able to support organisations that play such a positive role in our sector, and we’re proud that our funding will continue to be used to help those in need.”



PHOTO: Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS (fourth from right), hands a £8,000 donation to representatives of Elmbridge Rentstart.

Helen Watson, Chief Executive of Elmbridge Rentstart said: “The DPS donation will go a long way to helping those who are most in need of help locally get back on their feet.”

For more on Elmbridge Rentstart and Steve’s story you can watch this BBC video.

If you work for or know of any more fantastic charities focused on the housing sector that would benefit from funding, please don’t hesitate to apply for funding.

Applications for the next round of awards must be submitted by 31 March 2020.