The Justlife Shared House
In October 2013 Billy came to Justlife with a problem. He had been evicted from his temporary supported temporary accommodation for quite a minor issue and was going to be made homeless. As Billy was under 35 he was only entitled to a ‘shared-housing’ housing benefit rate, which meant that he could not afford to rent a home on his own and definitely did not want to go into B&B accommodation. Options were limited. Matt, Justlife lead project worker worked with Billy and eventually decided to try something new, contacting a landlady who normally rents to students. She agreed to let him live in one of her shared properties, with the proviso that Justlife would continue to support Billy.
After a few months another service user, who was under 35, was sofa surfing and desperately in need of accommodation. We approached the landlady again and she housed him in the same house. Since then, every time a room has become available the landlady has contacted Justlife for possible tenants. Over the past 10 months we have filled the five-bedroom house with three further Justlife service users with various issues including rent arrears, social isolation, age and evictions which meant that this shared house was the best option for them; the last of whom we moved in this week.
The tenants are all doing well and enjoying living in a safe and well maintained home. Justlife continues to work with them, providing support, including moving on to more permanent tenancies. The landlady is happy as she knows that she can call Justlife if there are any issues, not that there have been any.
What started off as a solution for just one individual has grown to fill the house and solved homelessness for 5 people. If this model continues to be successful we hope to continue working in this way, where appropriate.