***Update 13th October***
We are delighted to announce that after months of meetings Birmingham City Council have agreed to pilot Homeless Rooms. They will fund first 3 months of the pilot. Oct- Dec. Many thanks to the Council for backing some grassroots innovation.
We now need your help to raise the following 3 months' funding- Jan-Mar 2018
Please share this on all of your social media platforms?
The original idea for Homeless Rooms came from Mark Peters, a social entrepreneur in Birmingham. He was speaking to a few of his prospective tenants (mostly young people) who were searching to find a place to live , however, every landlord/agent they approached on Gumtree, Rightmove, Zoopla etc wanted expensive deposits and/or high fees. These fees left them trapped in homelessness and or sofa surfing and damaged their wellbeing. One of the young people suggested that a Rightmove for Homeless People was needed! Lightbulb! Mark then approached fellow social entrepreneur, Lee Blake who developed the idea further. The pair decided to start Homeless Rooms Birmingham to try and help all those people who are sleeping rough or sofa surfing.
The idea of this site is pretty simple: There are at least 300 homeless people in Birmingham sleeping rough TONIGHT and 5000 - 20000 more people are ‘sofa surfing’ with no place to call their own.
Birmingham City council receive over 100 homeless applications each week.
There are 1800 people in temporary accommodation and 350 people in Bed & Breakfasts which costs the council a lot of money. Millions of pounds every year.
Not many people know this, but in Birmingham there are dozens of landlords who own hundreds of properties with thousands of rooms who accept homeless people without the need for:
*or Extortionate rents
Our research suggests there are in fact over 5000 such rooms available in Birmingham. At any one time the void rates (empty rooms) for these properties are between 10-20%.
Therefore a quick calculation tells us that there are between 500-1000 rooms that are available to homeless people TONIGHT that are currently EMPTY.
So this site matches empty rooms in supported accommodation flats and houses to homeless people and sofa surfers who need rooms.
NO BRAINER RIGHT?
Homeless Rooms aims to make sure that homeless people get a room and the support they need to move on in life. Better still getting more people out of temporary accommodation into supported accommodation means those people are supported by Housing Benefit, which is paid for by central government – thus saving Birmingham City Council millions of pounds each year.
Raising Standards in the Supported Accommodation Sector.
For too long, rogue landlords have exploited vulnerable people in the Supported Accommodation sector. We are working with reputable charities & social enterprises such as Centrepoint, St Basils, Salvation Army, Prospect Housing, SIFA Fireside and Midland Heart aswell as and Birmingham City Council to provide much needed transparency to the sector. Its a bit like Student Housing, which used to be terrible, but the internet and competition led to revolution in student housing.
We will do the same for supported accommodation. Please donate, the great news is that ANY money you we raise here, will be match funded by ANOTHER part of the Council. So if you send £20, it's actually worth £40 to us!
Lastly, if you can't donate, please do us a really big favour and share this campaign across all your social media platforms? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email... and of course talk to all your friends, family and colleagues!