The loss of a private rented tenancy is one of the leading causes of homelessness as tenants struggle to keep up with rising rents.
That’s why youth homelessness charity Rock Trust has launched its Rent Deposit Scheme in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The initiative, set up with End Youth Homelessness and funding from Yorkshire Building Society and Dean Parish Fund in 2017, sees landlords handed a guarantee certificate from Rock Trust in place of a traditional cash deposit. This secure bond protects the landlord from damage or rent arrears while giving the young person, aged 16-25, a safe way into the rental market. This is a crucial lifeline for youngsters who may come to the Rock Trust with struggles ranging from mental health issues to learning difficulties, or having suffered family breakdowns or negative experiences from coming out as LGBTQ ,that left them homeless.
Looking back at what we achieved last year – 407 young people helped in 2017-18. With recent statistics released showing rise in homelessness we know more still needs to be done. We intend to do it – 2019 we're coming for you #endingyouthhomelessness pic.twitter.com/ZmV72Ay9Wu
— Rock Trust (@RockTrust_tweet) November 23, 2018
In Edinburgh, you can add a shortage of private rental addresses to that list. That has led to a new application process being introduced that has seen an increase in people on benefits and lower incomes being denied a home.
The Rock Trust scheme helps bridge this gap and gives youngsters the initial support and advice they need to get up and running. So far, the charity has engaged with 25 landlords and supported seven people into accommodation. And one of them told The Big Issue that the scheme has offered them a lifeline.
There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
A 21-year-old tenant, who wished to remain anonymous, has just moved into his own tenancy with a shared flat around six weeks after becoming involved in the scheme.
“Life was hard at the time, I had just broken up with my partner and we lived together,” he said. “I had to find somewhere quick to live, my only option was to find a hostel, like a tourist place, sharing with eight people in my dorm. I had to get out quick, it would have been impossible for me to get a flat or a room on my own, I work very hard for very little, minimum wage, so I can’t thank the Rent Deposit Scheme enough.”
The scheme is designed to take away the mental anguish of struggling to find a place to live.
Statistics are important, but they only go so far. Listening to those working on the ground with young people can help them to be seen, and show there are still too many gaps to fall through, too may ways for them to get lost, more still needs to be done https://t.co/FbC3dkWAQ8
— Rock Trust (@RockTrust_tweet) November 12, 2018
“I am now living in my own room I managed to rent because of the work of the Rock Trust,” he said. “They paid my deposit, that I can pay back over a 12-month period, this has helped my mental state, I am no longer fighting with the stress and depression I had when I was looking alone, there support has been a life-saver. We need more places like the Rock Trust to give a helping hand, into the private property market.”
One of the landlords working with Rock Trust is Dunfermline-based LAR Housing Trust. “The Rent Deposit Scheme is an innovative and effective way of helping young people secure a property,” said LAR’s chief executive Ann Leslie. LAR’s aim is to provide quality homes at affordable rents across Scotland for an increasing number of people who can neither afford private rents, nor have a realistic chance of being allocated social housing. We are delighted to support End Youth Homelessness and Rock Trust’s efforts to help young people secure a home.”