When Angel* was ready to move on from supported accommodation, she wanted to find somewhere to live with her partner Tiffany*, who also needed to move out of the home she shared due to a lack of space. However, they struggled to find self-contained private rented accommodation, which was affordable, comfortable and suited their needs.
They turned to The Benjamin Foundation for help and were able to find support through the Rent Deposit Scheme, which helps young people who have previously faced homelessness and are now ready to live independently to gain access to the private rented sector.
The scheme, funded by Yorkshire Building Society, provides landlords with a guarantee certificate in place of a traditional cash deposit and offers young people financial advice and dedicated support to help build their life skills and confidence.
Based in Norfolk, Angel was advised by the local Housing Department their options included further supported housing or another House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), where some facilities are shared. Having lived in supported accommodation with other residents for two years, Angel really wanted her own space to gain more independence and to build a future with her partner.
Having heard about the Rent Deposit Scheme, the couple decided to explore this further. Angel explains:
“When we met with The Benjamin Foundation to consider the Rent Deposit Scheme, we discussed our benefit entitlement as couple. The Benjamin Foundation helped us to look at housing sites, the cost of agency fees and possible property agents in our preferred area that were not ‘sky high prices”.
“It was my first time viewing properties and I wasn’t aware of how much things were going to cost. Our Support Worker, Michala, broke down the costs and explained what we could or couldn’t get back or claim for. It made me more aware of the fees to look out for when looking at properties.”
Working alongside Michala, Angel and Tiffany drew up a budget and looked at their options. They were delighted to find a property that had minimal agency fees of £100. With access to a moving in grant through the Rent Deposit Scheme, they were able to cover the fees to secure the home they felt was perfect for them.
Angel says: “I have OCD and this flat was clean; it had been newly decorated with no damage to fixture and fittings – and I knew I could be happy here. We had viewed other properties and knew we didn’t want to live in them.”
“I feel excited and motivated to work hard for the things I like and want. I’ve matured and I feel more independent. I’m relieved that I don’t have to clean up after other people anymore – I feel safe and secure.”
Having moved out of the family home, Angel’s partner Tiffany is also enjoying her independence after securing work as a Kitchen Porter in a local restaurant. She says:
“Initially, it’s a part-time post, but I feel I have something to work on and a stable place to return to. When Angel also finds a job, we will both aim to work full time.”
Tiffany says: “It’s crazy to think when I lived in the HMO, I thought I’d never get out. When it was time to leave, I worried that I wasn’t ready. I was really anxious and upset – but with all the help I’ve received through family and Michala, I got through and we’ve got our dream home. I feel like I’ve become myself and I now want to be out there, achieving.”
Angel concludes: “Without the Benjamin Foundation none of this would have been possible. I can’t believe what a difference it has made! We went from an empty flat to a comfy and warming home which we now enjoy looking at every time we walk through the door!”
If you’re aged 18-25 and would like to access dedicated support and advice available through The Rent Deposit Scheme, please contact Michala on 07976 851202.
*Names have been changed
Each year we help over 2,500 people in Norfolk and Suffolk