Many people who are homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless are capable of independent living. Despite aiming to find sustainable employment, education or training, a lack of affordable accommodation can mean individuals find themselves sofa surfing or even rough sleeping. Many end up funneled into supported housing or hostels, which may offer intensive support they don’t need or environments that aren’t conducive to finding work and getting on with life.
The Housing Solution
Peer Landlord tests a model of shared housing that combines genuine affordability and stability for tenants. Crucially, it seeks to establish a supportive – not supported – housing environment for those with lower general needs who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Peer Landlord is selected from the existing tenants, one of whom who volunteers to take responsibility for basic housing management, acting as the link between the household and the property manager. Additionally, they will also provide informal peer support to his or her housemates.
Peer Landlord is designed to cultivate a degree of peer response to other support needs within the house, providing a supportive safety net if needed. It provides a shared accommodation solution that sits in the gap between supported housing and the PRS.
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
The Commonweal funded Making the Case report into supportive shared housing and the Peer Landlord model in particular has been released.
Our replication learning guide shares the knowledge and learning we have accumulated on the Peer Landlord project to date and can be view online now.
Commonweal releases interim findings of an independent, four year evaluation of the pilot Peer Landlord shared housing model.
Bill Tidnam from Thames Reach blogs about the Peer Landlord project.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Keep up to date with our latest projects and news by subscribing to our newsletter.