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Rent a room and help change someone's life

A new scheme has been set up to find safe, stable homes for vulnerable single people to help them rebuild their lives.

Local

Many are currently forced to "sofa surf" between friends and family.

The scheme, called "supported lodging", aims to match suitable, well vetted tenants with friendly, welcoming hosts in good homes.

Hosted by Cambridge City Council, it is being supported by Cambridgeshire's four district councils with funding provided by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The hunt is now on to enlist homeowners who are happy to rent out a room to individuals aged 18-plus.

Councillor Will Sutton, Fenland District Council's Cabinet member responsible for housing, said: "As part of our homelessness strategy, we are keen to find new ways of helping single people who aren't yet able or ready to rent a place of their own.

"We estimate that many of those people are currently sofa surfing, although it is impossible to know exactly how many. This scheme provides a stepping stone on the way towards them being able to live independently.

"For their hosts, there will be the satisfaction of knowing that by providing a safe, stable environment they will be making a potentially huge impact on someone's whole life."

Project workers will carefully assess individuals approaching the service and create a personal action plan suitable for their particular circumstances.

Hosts will be given advice on a wide range of issues, including property standards, rent collection, tax and benefits and helped with a standard lodgings agreement.

Agreements will typically be for between three and nine months.

Cllr Sutton said: "The hope is that, once the lodgings agreement is in place, the host and lodger both enjoy a good relationship and that a stable, welcoming environment provides the lodger with a base from which to move on with their life, finding work or training, engaging with support services and so on."

To find out more about the scheme, call Andy King on 01223 457920 or email  andy.king@cambridge.gov.uk

Article added December 2, 2015