Mayor invests £15m to buy homes for homeless Londoners

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is investing £15 million in a new scheme that aims to purchase hundreds of homes for Londoners who have been, or are at risk of becoming, homeless.
01 February 2018

• New fund aims to make up to 330 properties available for homeless people across the capital
• Mayor launches second round of grants for rough-sleeping support services

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is investing £15 million in a new scheme that aims to purchase hundreds of homes for Londoners who have been, or are at risk of becoming, homeless.

The scheme will purchase around 330 existing private properties in good condition, and let them at genuinely affordable rents to some of the most vulnerable Londoners, helping them to get back on their feet into independent living.

The properties will offer individuals and families who are ready to move on from hostels and other temporary accommodation and live independently in a stable, affordable home. Tenants will also be able to access wider support to help them move into training and employment.

The scheme, “Real Lettings Property Fund 2” will be run by Resonance Limited, a social impact investment company, and homelessness charity St Mungo’s. On top of City Hall’s £15million, the London boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth and Westminster have committed a total £45 million to the scheme. Resonance hope to get the support of other boroughs and investors to reach the fund target of £100 million.

The scheme builds on the success of two similar projects already being run by Resonance and St Mungo’s. All three funds have housed approximately 1,300 people to date, with data from the longest-running fund showing 100 per cent of tenants sustained their tenancy for more than six months, and 44 per cent now in employment.

Sadiq also announced today that the second round of grants from his Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund are now available to bid for. The fund, which Sadiq launched last April, provides grants to small-scale, innovative projects to pilot original ideas and develop new services. Seven projects were awarded grants in the first round of funding, including Beam, the world’s first scheme for crowdfunding employment training for homeless people, helping them to progress towards stable, paid work.

The second round of £200,000 is now available, and the Mayor is urging potential projects across the capital to apply by visiting the London.gov.uk website. Grants range from £10,000 to £80,000 and bids that include match-funding will be prioritised. All bids must be supported by a London borough, and the next round of projects will start in April 2018.

With more than 8,000 people seen sleeping rough in London last year, these schemes are just part of the Mayor’s work to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Sadiq is investing £3.15 billion secured from Government into new affordable homes, and £9 million a year into services to tackle tackling rough sleeping.

In December, he brought together 18 charities tackling homelessness into one coalition to launch the “No one needs to sleep rough in London” campaign. Offering Londoners one single donation point, the campaign has since raised over £94,000, with the money being split equally between these charities. The number of people seen sleeping rough between October and December 2017 was seven per cent lower than during the same period in the previous year – down from 2,818 to 2,630. This was mainly due to a fall in the number of new rough sleepers, down by 14 per cent to 1,121.*

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The scale of homelessness in our capital is shocking and we are doing everything we can to tackle it. By providing opportunities for homeless Londoners to leave temporary emergency accommodation, we can help them move on with their lives in an affordable, stable home of their own. I will do all I can with local authorities, social enterprises, and innovative new projects to help people who are homeless or sleeping rough - but we also need Government to play its part. They must fully fund services to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, and tackle the long-term causes of homelessness including by investing more in social housing and reconsidering many of their changes to the welfare system.”

Reductions in the Local Housing Allowance, alongside the total benefit cap, have contributed to a growing number of households across London facing homelessness**, with local authorities unable to cope with the demand for temporary accommodation.

The Real Lettings Property Fund 2 is available for a maximum of nine years and the Mayor’s funding, invested from his Affordable Homes Programme Innovation Fund, will be repaid on a quarterly basis from rental income and the property sales at the end of the term.

Susan Fallis, Director of Real Lettings, said: “This investment will enable us to offer many more individuals who have been rough sleeping, or who are at risk of rough sleeping, a place to call home. Real Lettings and St Mungo’s are pleased to be working with the Mayor and Resonance in helping prevent homelessness and support those who are moving on with their lives, into work and longer-term homes.”

Daniel Brewer Managing Director of Resonance says “We are delighted that City Hall has joined other pioneering authorities, Croydon, Lambeth & Westminster, in investing into the RLPF2. In partnership with Real Lettings, a social lettings agency of St Mungo’s, our ambitious Homelessness Property Funds have already bought over 600 homes nationwide, housing more than a thousand people who were homeless or vulnerable to homelessness. We are thrilled that City Hall has caught the vision.”

A 2015 Homelessness Link survey showed that those in London experience greater difficulty in moving on from hostels or B&Bs, with 51 per cent of those ready kept waiting for over six months, compared to 27 per cent across England.

Joe, 37, was sleeping on and off occasionally for two years, after becoming homeless due to alcohol and drug addiction. After being referred to Beam by Thames Reach, Joe was supported in finding the right professional skills course to become a crane rigger and launching an online crowdfunding campaign profile.

Joe successfully raised the money for his training in five days, and passed with 95 per cent. He is currently living in his own flat, applying for work and acting as an ambassador for Beam. He said: “Years back, I worked in construction and this year I passed my 'Construction Skills Certification Scheme' exam. I want to become a crane rigger which means working on the ground to assist the crane operator to move loads. This is the right role for me as I've got relevant experience and the pay is decent and will allow me to get off benefits.”

Kate Bowgett, Director of Advocacy at Groundswell, said: “The Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund supports Groundswell’s Women’s Homeless Health Peer Advocacy Service; training up women who have been homeless themselves, to support homeless women to access healthcare. The average life expectancy for homeless women is just 43 years – four years shorter than homeless men, and 37 years shorter than the general female population, so this is a vital project. This funding is allowing us to make a real difference in women’s lives.”

Notes to editors

• New fund aims to make up to 330 properties available for homeless people across the capital
• Mayor launches second round of grants for rough-sleeping support services

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is investing £15 million in a new scheme that aims to purchase hundreds of homes for Londoners who have been, or are at risk of becoming, homeless.

The scheme will purchase around 330 existing private properties in good condition, and let them at genuinely affordable rents to some of the most vulnerable Londoners, helping them to get back on their feet into independent living.

The properties will offer individuals and families who are ready to move on from hostels and other temporary accommodation and live independently in a stable, affordable home. Tenants will also be able to access wider support to help them move into training and employment.

The scheme, “Real Lettings Property Fund 2” will be run by Resonance Limited, a social impact investment company, and homelessness charity St Mungo’s. On top of City Hall’s £15million, the London boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth and Westminster have committed a total £45 million to the scheme. Resonance hope to get the support of other boroughs and investors to reach the fund target of £100 million.

The scheme builds on the success of two similar projects already being run by Resonance and St Mungo’s. All three funds have housed approximately 1,300 people to date, with data from the longest-running fund showing 100 per cent of tenants sustained their tenancy for more than six months, and 44 per cent now in employment.

Sadiq also announced today that the second round of grants from his Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund are now available to bid for. The fund, which Sadiq launched last April, provides grants to small-scale, innovative projects to pilot original ideas and develop new services. Seven projects were awarded grants in the first round of funding, including Beam, the world’s first scheme for crowdfunding employment training for homeless people, helping them to progress towards stable, paid work.

The second round of £200,000 is now available, and the Mayor is urging potential projects across the capital to apply by visiting the London.gov.uk website. Grants range from £10,000 to £80,000 and bids that include match-funding will be prioritised. All bids must be supported by a London borough, and the next round of projects will start in April 2018.

With more than 8,000 people seen sleeping rough in London last year, these schemes are just part of the Mayor’s work to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Sadiq is investing £3.15 billion secured from Government into new affordable homes, and £9 million a year into services to tackle tackling rough sleeping.

In December, he brought together 18 charities tackling homelessness into one coalition to launch the “No one needs to sleep rough in London” campaign. Offering Londoners one single donation point, the campaign has since raised over £94,000, with the money being split equally between these charities. The number of people seen sleeping rough between October and December 2017 was seven per cent lower than during the same period in the previous year – down from 2,818 to 2,630. This was mainly due to a fall in the number of new rough sleepers, down by 14 per cent to 1,121.*

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The scale of homelessness in our capital is shocking and we are doing everything we can to tackle it. By providing opportunities for homeless Londoners to leave temporary emergency accommodation, we can help them move on with their lives in an affordable, stable home of their own. I will do all I can with local authorities, social enterprises, and innovative new projects to help people who are homeless or sleeping rough - but we also need Government to play its part. They must fully fund services to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, and tackle the long-term causes of homelessness including by investing more in social housing and reconsidering many of their changes to the welfare system.”

Reductions in the Local Housing Allowance, alongside the total benefit cap, have contributed to a growing number of households across London facing homelessness**, with local authorities unable to cope with the demand for temporary accommodation.

The Real Lettings Property Fund 2 is available for a maximum of nine years and the Mayor’s funding, invested from his Affordable Homes Programme Innovation Fund, will be repaid on a quarterly basis from rental income and the property sales at the end of the term.

Susan Fallis, Director of Real Lettings, said: “This investment will enable us to offer many more individuals who have been rough sleeping, or who are at risk of rough sleeping, a place to call home. Real Lettings and St Mungo’s are pleased to be working with the Mayor and Resonance in helping prevent homelessness and support those who are moving on with their lives, into work and longer-term homes.”

Daniel Brewer Managing Director of Resonance says “We are delighted that City Hall has joined other pioneering authorities, Croydon, Lambeth & Westminster, in investing into the RLPF2. In partnership with Real Lettings, a social lettings agency of St Mungo’s, our ambitious Homelessness Property Funds have already bought over 600 homes nationwide, housing more than a thousand people who were homeless or vulnerable to homelessness. We are thrilled that City Hall has caught the vision.”

A 2015 Homelessness Link survey showed that those in London experience greater difficulty in moving on from hostels or B&Bs, with 51 per cent of those ready kept waiting for over six months, compared to 27 per cent across England.

Joe, 37, was sleeping on and off occasionally for two years, after becoming homeless due to alcohol and drug addiction. After being referred to Beam by Thames Reach, Joe was supported in finding the right professional skills course to become a crane rigger and launching an online crowdfunding campaign profile.

Joe successfully raised the money for his training in five days, and passed with 95 per cent. He is currently living in his own flat, applying for work and acting as an ambassador for Beam. He said: “Years back, I worked in construction and this year I passed my 'Construction Skills Certification Scheme' exam. I want to become a crane rigger which means working on the ground to assist the crane operator to move loads. This is the right role for me as I've got relevant experience and the pay is decent and will allow me to get off benefits.”

Kate Bowgett, Director of Advocacy at Groundswell, said: “The Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund supports Groundswell’s Women’s Homeless Health Peer Advocacy Service; training up women who have been homeless themselves, to support homeless women to access healthcare. The average life expectancy for homeless women is just 43 years – four years shorter than homeless men, and 37 years shorter than the general female population, so this is a vital project. This funding is allowing us to make a real difference in women’s lives.”