This year has been tough for everyone but especially for society’s most vulnerable. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs and many are facing life on the streets as they struggle to keep up with rent or mortgage payments.
Unfortunately, many have been left homeless and not just during this year’s pandemic.
So this is where one lettings agency steps in, to help those sleeping rough find emergency accommodation or rented housing.
Charity Rentstart works with the homeless as well as those who are vulnerably housed, to house and support them and help others who are at risk of homelessness.
Every year, about 450 people go to Rentstart, which not only treats its customers with dignity, but, since August this year, makes them feel comfortable and secure in their open-plan office that could pass as any regular estate agents.
The charity says the idea behind opening an office on a high street – instead of buzzing their customers into a door round the back of a building – creates somewhere where clients felt valued, respected and part of the community.
And Rentstart doesn’t just find accommodation for those in need, but it also provides deposit guarantees, supplies one month’s rent in advance and gives clients starter packs which contain household goods.
It also helps support people who are looking for work as well as accessing universal credit and health services.
The charity now works with thirty private landlords and a number of charities and councils have been in touch hoping to replicate what Rentstart do.
Speaking to Positive News, Renstart client Blair Darby said: “You walk in there and you don’t have to hide. It just looks like an office and it’s done in a very nice modern way.”
The 64-year-old actor found himself homeless four years ago after he came home to the UK after playing the dictator Idi Amin in a theatre production in Austria.
He added: “From having been lauded and applauded on a nice stage in Austria, I was sleeping on the streets in England.
“Rentstart just saves lives. They certainly saved me.”