by Lee Blake in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 17th January 2018 we successfully raised £15,120 with 63 supporters in 96 days

Rightmove for Homeless People and Sofa Surfers. Matching vulnerable people to over 500 EMPTY supported accommodation rooms in Birmingham.

by Lee Blake in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

The stretch target will help us pay for a worker to inspect EVERY single property that goes onto the site.

We also  want to train up to 30 Expert Users who will work directly with homeless people and sofa surfers to show them how to register on the site. They will also train some of the many volunteers and support workers who work directly with homeless people how to register the people they support.

Update 10 Jan 2018 

Thanks to Free Radio & The BBC we have lots more attention and we received an extension but, time  is running out. If we can get close to £10,000 we can launch in January 2018.

We've had 6 different landlords contact us who have over 100 empty rooms that could be used for Sofa Surfers and homeless people.

We've had dozens of individuals register on the site - even though we haven't properly launched or told many of the support services yet.

We have also been very busy in the background, writing funding bids, attending The Young Foundation's #ReImagining Rent programme, working on our Social Business Model Canvas and Theory of Change.

We've been bowled over by the generosity of some people. People like Jonny Stenson, who set up a Just Giving Page and raised £500 for Homeless Rooms. Donations like this will be match funded by Birmingham City Council CIF and will allow to launch more quickly. 

What we plan to do with the money:

* Invest in a 360 camera so we can train volunteers to record Virtual Reality Tours - a game  changer for the supported  accommodation sector 

* Get flyers, business cards, posters & banners printed - We need MORE homeless people and sofa surfers to know about Homeless Rooms. We also need to link with all the social enterprises, charities and volunteers. We will not recreate the wheel, we plan to teach these organisations how they best use the site and easily register the people they are helping.

* Train some of the (mainly young people) who have already used the site to become Expert Users - we will give them work experience and empower them to register even more homeless people and sofa surfer

* Meet the all of the big Social Landlords, Registered Social Landlords and accommodation providers, ensure they know about Homeless Rooms so they advertise any spare rooms with us

* Improve the running of the website: We want to get the Trip Advisor style rating off the ground and introduce a password protected area where we can guarantee that we only help Birmingham's homeless and sofa surfers.

* Continue to work with Birmingham City Council and all other stakeholders to improve the standards and practice in the Supported Accommodation sector in Birmingham.

* Work with the big hostel accommodation providers to move their residents into the spare rooms on our site, thus creating more bed spaces in the hostels and taking more rough sleepers off the streets - reduce bed blocking

* Work with the council to provide high quality alternatives to bed and breakfast and expensive hotels - Saving the council lots of money that could be spent elsewhere.

***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. 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 Moment!  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:  Officially there are 55 rough sleepers in Birmingham, however unofficial estimates say 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 the site matches empty rooms in supported accommodation flats and houses to homeless people and sofa surfers who need rooms.


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, a minority of 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 as well 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 a 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!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

Social media recognition plus your name on our Hall of Fame on our website.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Previous Rewards PLUS Certificate of recognition to show friends/family and colleagues that you helped make a dent in homelessness

£50 or more

£50 Reward

A Homeless Rooms Tshirt!

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Hoodie: You will have the choice of receiving a hoodie or donating to a young person.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

A volunteer experience, working with one of our local charity social enterprise partners who house and support people across Birmingham.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Businesses: Enhanced social media recognition Certificate to display to your customers/clients

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Housing Professionals: Enhanced social media recognition Certificate to display to prove you're helping to revolutionise homelessness.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

Businesses: Advice Page Sponsorship Your logo displayed on one of our Advice Pages. You get to choose the page you want to sponsor for a year (first come first served)

£500 or more

£500 Reward

Housing Professionals: Advice Page Sponsorship. Get a free listing in our online directory. Choose a page that most suits your core business values, or ask us to create one!

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Reward

Businesses: Guest Blog for a year on our site.

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Reward

Housing Professionals: Write a blog for a year on our site

£2,500 or more

£2,500 Reward

Businesses: Host a series of our network meeting

£2,500 or more

£2,500 Reward

Housing Professionals: Host a series of network meeting

£5,000 or more

£5,000 Reward

Businesses: Become a principal sponsor for a whole year for Homeless Rooms Birmingham, benefit from local and national coverage for your business.

£5,000 or more

£5,000 Reward

Housing Professionals: Become a principal sponsor to the site for a whole year

£10,000 or more

£10,000 Reward

Bring Homeless Rooms to your town or city. Want to reduce homelessness in YOUR local area. We will set up a local site for you and you will be our key partner in driving this forward in your area.

Got an idea like this?

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