Wakefield Rent Deposit Scheme
The Shelter website tells us today that:
“Since 1969, house prices in Yorkshire and the Humber have shot up by £168,469".
And in Yorkshire and the Humber, 661 households are homeless. Worse still, 290 of those households are families with children. It’s getting tough to afford a home – a person on the average wage in Yorkshire and the Humber would have to save for 10.8 years before they could buy. Rent is getting more and more expensive too – it now takes up on average 40% of people’s incomes. Higher house prices mean more people have to turn to renting – so rents go up as well.
So what does this have to do with Wakefield Rent Deposit Scheme - your Cathedral’s response to the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in the district. Homelessness is a problem that is not going away. In fact, it is a problem that is likely to intensify as public spending cuts are imposed in the next few years.
The rising cost of rents (as above), and the increasing pressure on property, means that those at the bottom of the housing ladder are finding it harder and harder to find somewhere to live. For many people, this pressure on housing means that their children or grandchildren are not able to afford to buy a property. But the pressure continues down through the housing market, so that those at the bottom suffer the most. Those least able to afford housing are becoming priced out of the market. WRDS helps homeless people to access affordable tenancies. Last year we supported access into 52 brand new tenancies. These tenancies are difficult to find, and our long relationship with landlords plus our proven track record of success has helped us to achieve this.
The effect of the lack of affordable housing is felt most acutely by those at the end of the housing chain. That is not to say that others are not affected- young people are staying at home longer, mortgages are harder to come by and deposits are hard to raise – but for homeless people, finding upwards of £1000 before they can rent a 1 bed flat appears unsurmountable. WRDS helps to support this financial burden, then goes on to prevent the situation from happening again. By delivering support into 150 tenancies in 2014, WRDS helped people to stay housed and prevented them from returning to homelessness.
But it’s not all about the rent – WRDS helped to provide food, heating, furniture, bedding, clothing, gas and electricity into those properties. By working with partners and supporters, WRDS made tenancies into homes. Food vouchers and packs from donations and fund raising helped to keep our clients safe and well. Furniture, beds and bedding made life more comfortable. Gas and electricity support made life more bearable. So thank you to all our supporters and partners at Wakefield Cathedral and beyond. The big problem of the supply of affordable accommodation might be outside our control, but the pressure of homelessness, living on low income and managing day to day is where WRDS can and does help.
Your Cathedral’s response to the needs of the homeless makes a daily contribution to the well being of some of the poorest people in Wakefield – something you might want to feel proud of.