Posted 08 May 2019
Fair Housing Futures launches £600,000 grant fund for Greater Manchester
£600k fund launched to modernise private rented sector
A £600,000 pot of funding launched in Greater Manchester today aims to find real-life solutions to the housing problems facing thousands of vulnerable private renters in the city.
Funded by the Nationwide Foundation and hosted by housing charity Shelter, the £1.2 million Fair Housing Futures project seeks to address the challenges of accessing and living in Greater Manchester’s private rented sector, that are faced by tenants with limited financial and social support.
The scheme is now calling for local organisations such as tenants' groups, housing associations, and organisations covering planning, development and even health and well-being, to apply to have their ideas backed with cash from a £600,000 grant fund.
Shelter’s Roli Barker, project manager for Fair Housing Futures, said: “We know from our Shelter frontline services that the lack of social housing in Manchester is pushing more people into unstable private rentals.
“This funding from the Nationwide Foundation is an incredible opportunity for us as a city to help ourselves, to create a network of funded local projects that get right to the heart of the issues facing our vulnerable private renters. We want to leave a legacy of practical solutions, that make access to housing not only easier, but fairer.”
The project has already mapped out how sky-high rents and poor conditions across Greater Manchester leave many vulnerable renters struggling to survive in what Shelter describes as a broken private rented system.
This research will help the project’s partnership board to distribute £600,000 of grant funding to organisations in Greater Manchester over the next three years, as they work to test and develop successful applications.
Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and Greater Manchester’s lead for housing, homelessness and infrastructure, and who sits on the Fair Housing Futures board, said: “With social and council housing becoming increasingly oversubscribed, more people are often being forced into the private rented sector. Whilst for most this is a good alternative, a small minority of unscrupulous landlords are exploiting vulnerable tenants and dragging down whole communities through mismanagement and negligence.
“In Greater Manchester we’re working to fix this, to ensure everyone has a decent, secure and safe home. Through our work on the private rented sector we’ll be supporting tenants, recognising good landlords and using all the powers and legislation at our disposal to make sure that unscrupulous landlords are forced out of our communities for good.
“Shelter’s Fair Housing Futures programme and grant funding will help us make sure the private rented sector in Greater Manchester works for all our communities and neighbourhoods – landlords and tenants together.”
Leigh Pearce, Chief Executive of the Nationwide Foundation, said: “The private rented sector has changed massively in recent years and needs to undergo significant redesign. It’s only right that we should make rented homes places where tenants are treated with respect and can truly feel happy and settled.
“This work will help tenants who are struggling with affordability and trapped in poor quality rented homes. The fund will test solutions to challenges faced by vulnerable, disadvantaged and low-income tenants in the private rented sector in Greater Manchester. Because the fund is not constrained by statutory obligations, it can be used creatively, and we look forward to seeing some innovative and smart ideas come through.
“We’ve chosen this mayoral authority to work in as we see enormous appetite for modernisation of housing policy and practice in Greater Manchester. However, the fears and struggles facing tenants in Greater Manchester are sadly not unique, and we hope that the successes here will eventually trail-blaze vital improvements to the private rented sector right across the UK.”
Organisations applying for funding must either be based in Greater Manchester or have a partner applicant who is based in Greater Manchester.
Selina use to run a successful Manchester sandwich business, but when it folded due to late payments by the companies she supplied, she was soon tipped into sofa-surfing and homelessness. After applying as homeless to the council, she was placed in “temporary” accommodation – where she’s now been for 24 months.
"When I first declared myself homeless the council put me in a hotel for a week, then I went to women's council hostel for a month, then I went into their sister hostel for 3 months, and then I came here to another temporary flat. I'm in rent arrears from my previous place, because I got behind on my rent. But that means I can't yet get on Manchester Move, to apply for social housing, and I’m trapped.
“Knowing what I know about private renting, I probably wouldn't choose it. It's unreliable, and for some landlords, it's just like a meat market isn't it?
“One big problem here is having storage heaters, because they're so expensive. For someone with not a lot of money, you have two options, you either sit in the cold, or you spend a fortune on heating. My heating would cost more than £120 per month.
“I think what's happened is the homelessness issue just went 'boom' and spiralled out of control and became unmanageable. So many people are just getting shoved into places without them being inspected, because there's no housing. We just need more housing, and I feel our problems as private renters are just being painted over.”
More tenant voices available.
Notes to Editors:
Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. We campaign to make sure that, one day, no one will have to turn to us for help. For free and independent advice from Shelter visit: https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help
About the Nationwide Foundation
As an independent charity, the Nationwide Foundation influences changes to improve circumstances for those people in the UK who most need help. Its vision is for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home that they can afford and its strategy seeks to improve the lives of people who are disadvantaged because of their housing circumstances. To do this, it aims to increase the availability of decent affordable homes. The Decent Affordable Homes strategy began in 2013 and the Nationwide Foundation is committed to this strategy until 2026.
This funding has been given as part of the Nationwide Foundation’s Transforming the Private Rented Sector programme. The grant of £600,000 for the test and learn aspect of the Fair Housing Futures project means that there will be robust evidence of the solutions to address the issues of cost, quality, security and access in the private rented sector.
The Nationwide Foundation believes that the private rented sector needs radical action: making improvements will not be enough to make a meaningful difference., instead the Nationwide Foundation wants to help transform the sector so that it offers truly decent and affordable homes to every private tenant.
The Nationwide Foundation was established by Nationwide Building Society in 1997 as a fully independent corporate foundation.
About Fair Housing Futures
As the number of people living in the private rented sector is set to increase, Fair Housing Futures wants to ensure that all tenants have access to decent, secure, affordable homes. Over the next five years, the Fair Housing Futures Partnership Board and the Nationwide Foundation will invest £1.2 million into improving the experience of renting in Greater Manchester for people who need additional financial or social support, and focus on boosting housing policy, practice, and options.
As the number of people living in the private rented sector is set to increase, Fair Housing Futures wants to ensure that all tenants have access to decent, secure, affordable homes. Beginning in 2017, the Nationwide Foundation is investing £1.2 million into improving the experience of renting in Greater Manchester for people who need additional financial or social support, and will focus on boosting housing policy, practice and options. The Fair Housing Futures Partnership Board is providing strategic direction for the project and makes funding decisions for the test and learn fund. Meanwhile, the fund will be distributed by the Community Foundation, an independent registered charity, part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertakes strategic grant-making, facilitates philanthropy and contributes to achieving positive social change in our local communities.
Led by the Fair Housing Futures Partnership Board, Fair Housing Futures will work together with local authorities and organisations across the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs to find collective solutions for the issues facing tenants. We’ll work out which issues need our attention by talking to tenants and landlords, which will give us a better understanding of the private rented sector throughout Greater Manchester. We’ll then identify solutions to these issues through our Test and Learn Grants programme, and together, we’ll help build a private rented sector that works for all.
The Test and Learn Grant
Our Test and Learn Grant launches on 8th May 2019. It will be open to a range of organisations that are interested in testing and developing ideas to make the private rented sector work for everyone. Find out more and apply
Tenants' Voice Programme
We created the Tenants' Voices programme, a regular forum that gives us a chance to engage and empower tenants across Greater Manchester, allowing them to join the debate around housing.
Register your interest
We commissioned a mapping exercise of the private rented sector to gain an up-to-date, evidenced understanding of the sector in Greater Manchester. Our research will give us a comprehensive and evidenced review of how lower income renters access and live within Greater Manchester’s private rented sector. Call the Shelter services media officer for enquiries.
The Fair Housing Futures Board (below)...is responsible for the leadership of the project, and the Test and Learn Grant.
- Chair Fay Selvan, Chief Executive Officer, The Big Life Group
- Andrew Beeput, Chief Officer, Bond Board
- Professor Phillip Brown, Director, Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit, University of Salford
- Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor
- Beth Knowles, Network Development and Involvement Lead, Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit, University of Salford
- Christa Maciver, Strategic Lead, Just Life
- Denise McDowell, Director, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
- Neil McInroy, Chief Executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategy
- Corelia Mosley, Lettings Operations Director, Reeds Rains
- Ian Munro, Greater Manchester Housing Providers
- John Organ, Co-Chair Inspiring Change Manchester (ICM) Strategic Group, ICM
- John Ryan, Hub Manager, Shelter
- Helen Simpson, Strategic Relationship Manager, Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership