Charities collaborate to increase private rented housing for disabled people

The Housing and Support Alliance has teamed up with the co-founder of moneysupermarket.com and the Centre for Welfare Reform to launch a project to increase the provision of private rented housing for people with learning disabilities.

The project will match landlords and funders with people and organisations to increase housing options for service users with learning disabilities.

Duncan Cameron, who co-founded the financial products comparison site with Martin Lewis, has committed his eponymous foundation, the Cameron Trust, to join forces with the Housing and Support Alliance and the Centre for Welfare Reform to run the project, called ‘Investing in Ordinary Lives’.

Cameron said: “It’s all quite straightforward.  There are people with learning disabilities who need to rent houses and there are investors and organisations who have the money to buy houses and rent to people.

“We want to find a way to match the right landlords and funders with the right people and organisations to increase housing options for people with learning disabilities.”

Research by Mencap last year shows that to meet demand for a place to live from the growing number of people with learning disabilities, an extra 2,265 places would have to be created every year until 2026.

Historically, private sector investment in housing supply for people with learning disabilities has been focused on residential care homes, not private rented accommodation, and most housing has been provided by local authorities, housing associations and charities. Investing in Ordinary Lives proposes new options for private and corporate investors to get involved in the market.

The three organisations have published four briefing papers examining issues such as how investments in housing for people with learning disabilities can be made by wealthy people, corporates, small landlords, and lenders.

Brokering partnerships

They now plan to work to broker the partnerships needed to create more housing, by promoting the project nationally to investors and organisations and by encouraging housing and disability charities to match their service users with landlords.

The Cameron Trust will also devise a website to facilitate matching and provide information and tools for investors, landlords, people needing homes and the organisations that support them.

Alicia Wood, chief executive of learning disability charity the Housing and Support Alliance, said: “We think people with learning disabilities should have more control over where they live and how they are supported.

“Investing in Ordinary Lives recognises that both the range and type of housing needs to be significantly increased and proposes that privately provided and funded housing is a way of achieving this.”

Cameron added: “People with learning disabilities are usually great, long-term tenants and can give investors long-term returns on their investments. Our focus is on keeping overheads and rents as low as possible and making sure that we help people to get the housing that is right for them.”

This article was taken from Civil Society – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/15524