Homeless Rooms Birmingham: A Collective Answer to Homelessness

Introduction- What is Homeless Rooms Birmingham?

Homeless Rooms Birmingham is a social enterprise set up by two social entrepreneurs, Mark Peters and Lee Blake, to help tackle homelessness in our city by matching homeless people with empty rooms in good-quality supported accommodation. Both have a vast amount of experience working with the displaced in society, particularly young people.

Homeless Rooms aims to provide a safe, secure online platform to match-up empty supported accommodation rooms with those who need them, as well as to improve living standards for those living in insecure accommodation by providing the opportunity to move on to better, more secure housing. 

This will help provide a sustainable solution to the problem of homelessness by ensuring long-term stability and support, assisting the council and other statutory bodies with all the hard work they do to help ensure Birmingham has as little homelessness as possible.

Since the start of 2018, more than 200 applicants have come through the platform, and Homeless Rooms have been able to help more than 50 individuals out of homelessness and sofa surfing and into safe and secure accommodation, with some staying in their new homes for more than 6 months. 

We have been working with Homeless Rooms Birmingham since November 2018, and are enthusiastic about the future of the platform and its potential as a change-making agent in people’s lives locally.

The Collective Response

At The Future Melting Pot, we believe homelessness is a problem that requires a collective response from our city. We have often sought to act as a bridge between different organisations that want to make a difference to an issue but have often lacked the knowledge or connections to know how.

That is why, alongside Homeless Rooms Birmingham, we are working with a wide variety of stakeholders from across the city, representing business, education, the charity sector, housing and local government. We are all united by our desire to make a real dent in homelessness in Birmingham.

We are working alongside various stakeholders, including:

Start Again CIC: a Birmingham-based CIC, Start Again provides housing and support to homeless young people and helps them move on in life.

South and City College Birmingham: Having recently hosted its first annual Homelessness Conference, South and City College Birmingham will be at the forefront of the tackling Homelessness Agenda in 2019, with events planned to include a Soup Kitchen, and students undergoing work placements with Homeless Rooms Birmingham.

Birmingham City Council: Birmingham City Council has provided Homeless Rooms Birmingham with over £5,000 of grants so far, and councillors Ian Ward and Sharon Thompson have backed the platform to form part of the council’s vision to eradicate homelessness in Birmingham.

Business for Birmingham: Business for Birmingham, a community of the city’s business leaders, have a strong track record in raising funds to help tackle homelessness, having recently supported The Future Melting Pot’s homelessness research.

Court Collaboration: Property developer Court Collaboration have a keen interest in homelessness and are supporting the platform with consultative advice and exposure.

Prospects Housing: One of the largest social landlords in the city, Prospects have provided financial support to the platform, and are hopeful that it will fulfil its potential to make a real impact on homelessness in Birmingham

What We Want to Achieve as a Collective

In order to be sustainable, Homeless Rooms Birmingham needs an initial helping hand to get off the ground. Then, it can provide a long-term and sustainable solution to the issues surrounding homelessness in Birmingham for years to come.

Homeless Rooms is good for homeless people, good for landlords, and good for wider society. Nobody wants to live in a society that allows its most vulnerable members to sleep on the street, or in unsuitable bed and breakfasts. Birmingham is better than that. We know that action is needed now, and we know that people from across our community, from government, charities and business, want to do what they can to help fight homelessness. We are passionate about partnership working and collaboration between all these stakeholders.

How we will achieve this

We are looking to use a Crowdfunder to raise the money needed to get the platform fully up and running. We are looking to receive assistance from our partners across Birmingham to raise the necessary funds, which we believe to be £150,000 (to run the platform for a full year). We are confident that if we can raise this money we will be able to house at least 500 homeless people.

Raising these funds will require a joint, collective effort from across the community. We have students from South and City College Birmingham helping with the marketing and promotion of Crowdfunder on social media. The content they create will be shared and promoted by our partners in the business community, Court Collaboration.

We would like all our partners to join in with this collective effort. We aim to create a social media thunderclap when we launch our Crowdfunder, to get the word out about Homeless Rooms across many different social media platforms and through many different networks, so it has as wide a scope as possible. Lets join together to fight homelessness.

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