£250,000 boost for PRS equality project

Tai Pawb, an organisation promoting equality in housing, has received almost a quarter of a million pounds from the Big Lottery People and Places Fund.

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Tai Pawb has received just under £250,000 for a project to tackle inequality in the private rented sector.

The project will be run in partnership with the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in Wales, representing Wales’s private landlords.

The grant was awarded to set up and run the Open Doors project, a two year scheme to provide tenants from minority groups, landlords and letting agents in the Private Rented Sector with the knowledge, skills and confidence to prevent and reduce discrimination and mistreatment in the sector.

The project will support, advise on and raise awareness of key rights, responsibilities and solutions amongst private tenants from diverse groups, such as migrants, LGBT or disabled tenants, who are at greater risk of experiencing specific tenancy issues.

At the same time, with the help from RLA, Open Doors will work with private landlords and letting agents, to improve their capacity to deal with issues related to equality and diversity.

The project will be delivered in Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan and Merthyr Tydfil areas and plans to reach over 2,000 people with activities such as training, an innovative online hub, published guides, a helpline, drop-ins and referrals to local support provision or direct assistance where gaps exist and finally events.

A key element of the Open Doors project will be the introduction of Tenant and Landlord Champions who will act as project ambassadors and advocates by learning new skills, enabling them to contribute to running and shaping the project.

Alicja Zalesinska, director of Tai Pawb, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the People and Places Grant.

“It will not only enable us to support and empower some of the most vulnerable private sector tenants dealing with difficult housing issues but also guide and raise awareness amongst landlords who house them in times of unprecedented housing pressures, rising inequality and poverty.

“We will achieve this through a mix of innovative training, awareness raising, support, advice and guidance.  We will also test various methods of engagement with the so called ‘hard to reach’ groups and share learning with the wider sector.

“Our research showed that many private rented sector tenants encountered problems living in the sector, which may be related to their protected characteristic, but many did not tell their landlords or know where to access support.

“On the other hand, overwhelming majority of landlords we spoke to wanted additional support on equality issues.

“That’s why it was so important for us to develop something that will work with both groups, empowering them to act to prevent discrimination and mistreatment in the sector. We look forward to the coming months where we will be recruiting staff and setting up this vital project.”

Douglas Haig, vice-chairman and RLA director for Wales said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to support the diversity of the private rented sector and its ability to house those with a range of diverse and complex needs.

“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Tai Pawb and the Big Lottery and raise awareness of some of the issues that can be faced by those that they support and how small changes and a little bit of education of landlords and tenants can create long term sustainable tenancies.

“I believe it will further show how the private rented sector is helping house a huge range of needs in safe and secure homes.”

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