For people who experience homelessness or are risk of it, accessing and maintaining a tenancy in the private rented sector (PRS) can be an uphill battle. Landlords literally hold the keys to the PRS, which is becoming an increasingly important part of the housing system. The decisions landlords make are vital. In a recent survey, 52% of landlords reported that they would be unwilling to let to tenants in receipt of housing benefit . Even a small increase in the proportion of landlords willing to accept people at risk of homelessness could increase housing availability and help to reduce levels of homelessness.
BIT is working with the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI) to test the effectiveness of homelessness interventions by applying – and rigorously evaluating – behavioural science methods. As a member of the What Works Network, CHI is dedicated to introducing new empirical methods to fighting homelessness. CHI’s evidence tools have highlighted a lack of causal evidence on the impact of homelessness interventions. In particular, CHI have demonstrated that we don’t know enough about the role of the PRS in preventing homelessness.We’re excited about the potential for positive impact and look forward to sharing our learnings from the process along the way. The final analysis and reporting will be completed in Spring 2020.
The aim of our collaboration is to increase the proportion of landlords willing to rent to (or maintain contracts with) people receiving housing benefit. We are currently scoping out the work and are looking for local authorities and other organisations to partner with. If you work in housing for a local authority/other organisation and are interested in finding out more please get in touch with us.
The landlord trials are the first in what we hope will be an ongoing relationship. Over the next few years, we intend to run trials across the points in the homelessness system where better evidence could have the most impact in reducing the number of people in the UK without a home over their head.