Peer Landlord project: Harry's Story
We like you to hear about the people Commonweal projects support: meet Harry* – a tenant accessing the Peer Landlord project delivered with our partner, Thames Reach
“After a childhood of 49 foster homes, aged 16 I moved into a council flat. In 2008 my pregnant girlfriend and I moved into private rented sector accommodation but sadly our relationship broke down. At the same time my employment contract ended.
“I was defined as ‘non-priority homeless’ so I sofa-surfed until becoming street homeless in April 2012 when I was just 22.
“With prompt intervention from the police and the London Street Rescue (LSR) team at Thames Reach I received practical advice to find accommodation and work. I moved into a hostel for a few months before being referred to the Peer Landlord project, which provides role model peer-support to those moving on from hostels in a supportive accommodation setting.
“I have signed two tenancies for my new home, one as tenant, the second as peer landlord. I enjoy being peer landlord. My responsibilities are so varied. I have motivated my flatmates to agree to sign up for a telephone landline and wi-fi internet and, following my research, we now use a cheaper utility supplier. I communicate with Thames Reach regularly about repairs and I have successfully reminded a flatmate to clear his rent arrears or face the consequences. I am looking forward to attending training that Thames Reach will arrange for all the peer landlords to help them in their role.
“Alongside my move into the Peer Landlord property, which is provided by Commonweal, Thames Reach staff helped me gain employment at Tesco by advising on my CV, informing me about suitable job vacancies and paying towards the cost of photo ID.
“Only now that I am in secure accommodation and employed can I make plans for my future, which include getting a full driving licence and training to be a paramedic.”
* Names have been changed