"Before the Boaz night shelter I was homeless, on the streets, sometimes staying with friends. Sometimes in the library where the security guard is telling me to move on." Radin, Iran.
At this time of year, we would normally be planning for our night shelter to reopen in October. However this year is obviously very different. After much consideration, and in conversation with other agencies and our own staff and trustees, we recently contacted all our night shelter venue coordinators to confirm that we will not be opening our night shelter in October. This obviously means our capacity to provide temporary emergency accommodation will be significantly reduced. However, we now potentially have funding to accommodate and support up to ten additional people, like Radin, who have become homeless after their asylum claim has been refused. This means that despite not having our night shelters, we won't lose any capacity to support vulnerable people who have nowhere else to turn.
To make this happen, we need to take on two new shared houses in July!
This might seem like a big ask, but we are urgently looking to find two houses for a 12 month period which would match as much of our ideal house criteria as possible:
- 4 bedroom house or one that could be used that way (i.e. with a 2nd reception room used as a bedroom)
- all bedrooms to be at least 6.5m²
- location within 3 miles of the city centre (ideally south) and on good bus routes
- energy efficient ( i.e. good boiler with thermostat, insulated, double glazed etc.)
- no water meter
- low council tax banding
- no pre-existing major issues like damp, flooding, leaking roof...
- a small garden that is easy to maintain.
This is what we can offer to you in return:
- an opportunity to use your property for good, knowing that you are making a real difference in peoples' lives
- a ready made template lease (we are very happy to discuss this with you to ensure that it meets your needs)
- all our experience and learning from 15 years of managing properties for individual landlords, most recently in partnership with Arawak Walton, a local housing association
- reassurance that we provide ongoing 1:1 support for clients living in the house including regular visits to the house by our housing manager, Mark and individual support workers
- staff and client access to a 24/7 helpline to deal swiftly and safely with any emergencies (managed by Arawak Walton)
- any day to day minor maintenance work will be carried out including decoration when needed
- all relevant health and safety checks etc. will be completed
- utilities, council tax and basic maintenance will be covered by us, and we would keep you fully informed about any more serious work we thought needed to be done
- we work closely with the relevant City Council (Manchester and Salford, currently) and we always strive to be fully compliant with their requirements
- we provide an annual report to keep you up to date both with the management of the house and with how it has been used during the year
- we will return the property to you in line with its original condition at the end of the agreed period
Many of our 21 shared houses are kindly leased to us on a low or even peppercorn rent by private individuals who support our vision and values. In fact, back in 2005, our very first Boaz house was loaned to us free of charge after someone heard our founder, Dave Smith, speak about our work in a meeting! We still manage that house today and it is currently home to four women who were all experiencing homeless before they were referred to us.
If you know of any student properties that are available from July, or perhaps a church owned property that is currently empty, or if you are (or you know!) a friendly landlord who might be able to partner with us at this time- please can you get in touch with our housing manager, Mark, as soon as possible for a no-strings-attached initial conversation? You can email him on [email protected] (please put FAO Mark in the subject box) or call and leave a message on 0161 202 1056.
"I was the happiest somebody when I moved in to a Boaz house. Just before Christmas I was given clothes, food, gifts and some cash. It felt good to be in a warm house with new sheets. I could sleep comfortably, go downstairs and eat when I want to. I used to cry all the time but with Boaz I felt peace. With the women in the house, we loved each other, encouraged each other, ate together. Boaz house is a family house." Ijemma, Nigeria
Thank you so much!