15 March 2018
A Green Party councillor is spearheading a move to help solve Norwich’s housing crisis by matching people at risk of homelessness with those who want to rent their spare room.
Councillor Sandra Bogelein is proposing a motion to Norwich City Council asking it to work with charities and the private rented sector to help people on low or insecure incomes or housing benefit find a room to rent.
Councillor Bogelein said: “More and more people are struggling to find a place to live, because there isn’t enough council housing and it’s very difficult for people to rent privately if they are on housing benefit or a low or insecure income.
“There are a lot of people out there who have a spare room and could benefit from the extra income from renting it out to someone on housing benefit, but maybe don’t know where to start or don’t realise how they could contribute to preventing homelessness.
“As a central hub for contacts and information, the council is in a really good position to reach people who might be interested, and support them through the process of finding a lodger. It just seemed like an obvious way to join the dots.
“Ideally, we would be building more council housing and the cost of renting privately wouldn’t be so high, but in the short term we need to find creative ways to address the fact that so many people can’t find a place to live.”
Councillor Bogelein added that the scheme could cover council tenants, who could avoid the bedroom tax by renting out their spare room, but stressed that no one should be obliged to take in a lodger.
“This absolutely isn’t about forcing anyone to do anything,” she said. “It’s about providing information and support to people, helping them find a place to live or showing them how they can help someone in need of an affordable room.”
The motion will be debated at a full meeting of Norwich City Council on Tuesday 20th March at 7.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
You can find the full text of the motion here.