New private social letting agency launched by Aberdeen Cyrenians

Aberdeen Cyrenians has launched a new style of letting agency based on private social letting and the Housing First principles.

By providing greater levels of support for both landlords in the private rental sector and prospective tenants, Settled: Homes for All aims to reduce two key issues affecting the city: high levels of empty homes, and a temporary housing population bursting at the seams.

Over 2,000 homes in Aberdeen City have been sitting empty for over a year. Bringing homes back into use is a priority, especially with over 250 people currently in temporary accommodation.

The charity, which led a successful Housing First pathfinder programme, has support for its new initiative from Crisis and the Scottish Government.

Mike Burns, CEO of Aberdeen Cyrenians, said: “Temporary accommodation is not a home. Often it means families packed into a single room, lack of facilities for cooking, little privacy, and no sense of permanence.

“Thankfully, due to projects like Housing First and our partnership work with ACC, we have been able to help people find homes and enable them to move on in their lives. We have taken the lessons learnt from the pathfinder’s success; about what really makes a difference to people and what helps them to make a success of their new home, to create this new service.”

The initiative aims to turn leasing on its head in the same way Housing First turned housing support into a meaningful intervention working with the individuals lived experience, delivering previously unseen results in reducing cyclical homelessness and tenancy sustainment.

Landlords will be given proactive support to help them find suitable tenants, often for properties that have just been sitting empty. They’ll also be supported to ensure housing standards are met, and be reassured that all tenants receive flexible support for as long as needed to make long-term tenancy a success, as well as enjoying all the same guarantees of a regular let.

For tenants: it will help them access properties, will provide support for any issues that may impact their tenancy, and provide a safe, secure and suitable home.

This new model of housing access is underpinned by the seven key principles of Housing First that has been hugely successful in ending the cycle of homelessness for so many. By reducing risks for landlords, it increases available properties for tenants, helping ensure everyone’s right to a home, providing choice and control, reducing harm and supporting personal growth and development.

Mike Burns added: “The Housing First pathfinder in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has consistently been the most successful in Scotland, with regards to tenancy sustainment, rates of 93% and next month we hope to hit 100 long-term tenancies being secured. The model has shown just how important it is to put housing needs and intensive support together to provide a secure base for recovery.”

Settled: Homes for All is an evolution of the pathfinder, creating opportunities for success for both landlords and tenants.

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