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 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. In April 2018, because of the Homeless Reduction Act, this number is expected to quadruple. Yes, we did say QUADRUPLE!
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.
Another of our aims is to raise the quality of accommodation and support across the whole sector. That’s why you will find very recent date stamped photos of each room and all the communal areas of each property on this site. Our landlords should have nothing to hide. It’s also why tenants will be able to REPORT A LANDLORD. Unfortunately there are some Rogue Landlords who seem to think its OK to house homeless people and sofa surfers in rat infested, cold, miserable rooms. Well, we don’t. We want to use the power of the internet to force the Rogue Landlords out of business. Tenants no longer have to suffer in silence, they can easiyy find a new accommodation on this site and report the substandard rooms here: http://homelessroomsbirmingham.co.uk/report-a-landlord/. 20 years ago, student accommodation was nowhere near as good as it is these days. The internet and competition forced standards to rise. We want to do the same for the Supported Accommodation sector.
Homeless Rooms Birmingham is like Rightmove for the Homeless -Matching homeless people to empty rooms.
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