One of the largest efforts to entice private rented sector landlords into the social housing sector is taking place in Scotland, an ambitious initiative that is being watched across the UK to see if it can succeed.
Housing charity Aberdeen Cyrenians has launched letting agency Settled: Homes for All in a bid to repurpose the more than 2,000 properties in Aberdeen that have been empty for more than a year and to house more than 250 people currently in temporary accommodation.
The Crisis and Scottish government-backed initiative follows its Housing First pathfinder programme which provides ordinary, settled housing as a first response for people whose homelessness is made harder by experiences such as trauma, addiction and mental ill-health.
It acknowledges that meeting this fundamental need should come first, rather than supporting someone until they’re ‘housing-ready’.
The latest initiative aims to give landlords proactive support to help them find suitable tenants, often for properties that have been sitting empty.
They’ll be supported to ensure housing standards are met and their tenants will receive flexible support for as long as it takes to make long-term tenancy a success. Landlords will also have the same guarantees as a regular let.
Mike Burns, CEO of Aberdeen Cyrenians (pictured), says by reducing risks for landlords, it increases available properties for tenants. He adds that the Housing First pathfinder in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has consistently been the most successful in Scotland, with tenancy sustainment rates of 93%.
“Next month we hope to hit 100 long-term tenancies being secured. The model has shown just how important it is to put housing needs and intensive support together to provide a secure base for recovery.”