Landlords given funds to house homeless families

Wimbledon Guardian: A social lettings agency is housing families at risk of homelessness A social lettings agency is housing families at risk of homelessness

A social lettings agency is housing families at risk of homelessness because they can't find landlords who will accept tenants receiving housing benefit.

Real Lettings, which is part of homelessness charity St Mungo's Broadway, offers landlords funding for renovation work in exchange for renting to homeless families.

Six Merton properties have been signed up to the scheme so far, including a three-bed flat in Armfield Crescent, Mitcham, a three-bed home in Morden and a one-bed flat in Mitcham.

Once properties are ready, families on Merton Council's vulnerably housed list are moved from temporary accommodation to the homes.

Mum-of-three Paula Horton moved into the Armfield Crescent flat in February.

Her family spent seven months in temporary accommodation before being housed by Real Lettings.

She said: "Life is so much easier now. I can close my front door at night and I know it is my own front door.

"Living in temporary accommodation wasn’t ideal but there are so few three-bed properties around and not many landlords who are willing to let to people on housing benefit.

"We were searching the internet looking for homes but nothing was coming up.

"But when I heard there was a home available in Armfield Crescent I jumped at the chance.

"I grew up nearby and it’s nice to know my family can stay in the area, near to my daughter’s school. We are a lot more settled now."

Landlords who join the empty homes scheme are offered a grant or loan from the Department for Communities and Local Government, to renovate homes.

Once homes are ready, Real Lettings leases the property to families at risk of becoming homeless.

Christina Christiansen, Real Lettings senior property negotiator, said: "We are seeing fantastic results and now we’re looking for new landlords to come forward and speak to us about renovating their empty properties.

"If anyone has a home that has been empty for six months and which they think may be suitable for the scheme, please give me a call."

To find out more about the scheme, email christina.christiansen@mungosbroadway.org.uk or call 020 7710 0656.

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