Conclusion

It’s evident that shared housing can be a viable option financially and operationally with the appropriate procedures and resources in place. Robust matching processes are essential to creating sustainable tenancies and harmonious environments for tenants to feel safe and secure in. It is clear that a dedicated resource is needed to develop and manage shared options as this is a specialist housing provision that requires additional housing management and support.

Tenants now feel more confident in managing a tenancy, have improved their employability skills and are in a position to move on to self-contained accommodation. Many of these tenants would’ve failed to maintain a tenancy independently without the opportunity to develop tenancy management and life skills. Many will go on to sustain a tenancy of their own whether this is in social housing or the private rented sector.

There are, however, changes that need to be made so make any future shared housing models sustainable in terms of financial viability. For the model to be self-sustaining, the conversion of three-bedroom properties would be required as this would see an income stream which would fund the role of a Shared Housing Officer. The challenges around Council Tax and the affordability of this cost to tenants would also need to be addressed, with a suitable budget available or redesign of the rent and service charge setting.

Acknowledgements

We would like to express our appreciation to Crisis UK, not only for their belief in the project but also their ongoing support around best practice. Crisis’ Help-to-Rent programme has provided several organisations with the opportunity to develop shared accommodation in the social and private rented sector across England and Wales. This has allowed for the development of innovative shared housing projects and provided the housing sector with invaluable learning.

The project wouldn’t have achieved the outcomes it has without the insight and feedback from the Steering Group. In particular we’d like to thank Victoria Miller from United Welsh, Trevor Saunders from Hafod Housing, Michael Halloran from Wales & West Housing Association and Nick Jones & Ian Jones from the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Newydd secured the funding for the project and hosted the employment of the Rooms4U Officer whilst also providing a commitment to developing shared accommodation and delivering this as best practice across Wales. Special thanks to Joanne Carter whose innovation and passion has been instrumental in the success of the project and to Hazel Davies for researching, developing and putting the project into practice.

Thanks and appreciation also go to Llamau in Barry who have believed in the project and continue to promote it amongst the young people that they support who are facing homelessness.