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.
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, 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!