When the coronavirus outbreak began early this year, homelessness organisations along with local councils and Scottish Government moved quickly to protect people experiencing homelessness, especially people who were sleeping rough, from the pandemic, providing them with somewhere safe to stay and self-isolate.

This undoubtedly saved lives.

Once in the hotels, organisations like Crisis have been working to provide support to people to move on into more permanent, stable accommodation.

Along with Streetwork and Cyrenians, we set up a new pilot scheme which focused on helping people move on from homelessness and into a privately rented home.

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In April, the UK Government increased the rate of housing benefit so that it now covers the lowest third of rents across the rental market.

This meant that hundreds of properties were now affordable for people who relied on benefits in Edinburgh, offering a route out of homelessness.

The pilot, which is funded by Scottish Government, began in April, with the partners working to build the pathway from hotels to safe and settled homes for people with a range of support needs.

Crisis was able to build on the success of its Help to Rent scheme, which already works closely with landlords and people experiencing homelessness across Edinburgh to help find a settled home in the private rented sector.

We liaise closely with landlords and agencies, Cyrenians co-ordinates the service, and Streetwork ensures tenants have a full package of person-centred support.

Assessment process

This support is trauma informed and begins while the person is experiencing homelessness, assisting them through the assessment process which includes finding the right home for them.

Person centred, the support ranges from helping people to move in, set up and maintain a home, to supporting them to pursue their own goals in life.

Emotional support is a key aspect of the help provided to assist people to successfully leave homelessness behind for good.

We’re supporting people to leave homelessness behind for good because of the scheme.

We’ve built up stronger relationships with landlords and letting agencies and built our understanding of the support needs that people experiencing homelessness may have so that we can continue to successfully support people to find and maintain a tenancy in the private rented sector.

We know that ending homelessness is possible. Through access to the private rented sector and support to maintain a tenancy, we know that people are provided with a base to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

If you’re a letting agent or landlord and would like to discuss a potential property – or simply find out more on about Help to Rent or the PRS Pilot – please contact Crisis’ PRS Service Manager, Eluned McHardy on 0131 209 7700 or eluned.mchardy@crisis.org.uk


  1. What a load of lies!
    Its just a tick box exercise for these organisationds. I was trying to use Help to Let – this is what i found out – the council has got people in hostels – to move them to Private rental they offer unsuspecting landlords
    – a one off incentive of £1200 onwards offered to landlords depends on how many bedroom apartment.
    – they pay the deposit and 1 month rent in advance
    -they say they provide support to the tenants

    I almost got a tenant – fortunately the tenant seriously seemed mentally off, unable to provide previous landlord reference (stating landlord was in Dubai), could not show recent bank statements (saying account is frozen,etc).

    The council expects unsuspecting landlords to NOT take a reference and WILL NOT (the council housing officer was adamant and repeatedly insisted on this point – WILL NOT)stand as guarantor for the tenants rent. You are expected to provide 12 months tenancy to qualify for the incentives.

    Its not rocket science or physics – landlords want to ensure
    -rents are paid on time
    -no anti social behaviour
    -tenants look after the property.

    Councils/Shelter/and all the other bullshit organisations need to scrap their crazy schemes and only need to
    – provide deposit
    – guarantee the rent
    -physologically profile the tenant for Anti Social Behaviour.
    – evaluate professionally to ensure tenat has no drug addiction

    Send the decent ones to the Private rented sector – all the others need to go into specialist care centres for re habilitation – helped by professionals and re skilled and helped as much as possible to get them back into society.

    Dumping them back into society without help causes
    – retaliation by local society
    -mental stress for these helpless people
    -waste of police/ambulance resources to NOT solve the problem but delay it further.
    -the cycle continues and we do not progress our society

    Not saying this would work but its worth trying….and STOP the tick box exercise…its time councils/other organisations became more accountable for their actions to help house people…by dividing tenants and landlords WILL never solve the problem as a society…

    • You were expecting a homeless person to have references and a bank account?
      Helping the homeless is a job for charities. People can donate money if they want to. Or not.

      The biggest problem for those trying to help the homeless is the legal risks involved. They can’t just provide the homeless people with basic accommodation, because any little problem and they’ll get sued.
      Same with food.


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