Liverpool landlord provides a home for homeless people this Christmas

Mike Georgeson, founder of online rental platform RentalStep, has teamed up with OurHouseOurPeople and will offer a roof to five people at a house in Anfield. Janet Tansley reports

Mike Georgeson
Mike Georgeson, founder and chief executive of RentalStep

Five homeless people will have a roof over their heads this Christmas, thanks to a Liverpool landlord.

Not only does it mean they will have shelter from the winter weather but, crucially, an address will give each of them the ability to claim benefits, apply for job interviews and earn a credit rating to help get their lives back on track.

Mike Georgeson, founder of online rental platform RentalStep, said: “The lack of an address is a huge barrier to people being able to get their lives in order and start making a positive contribution to society again – and being a valuable part of it.

“I am a landlord of a house in Anfield which I’d previously let to young professionals, singles and couples, for whom it was generally their first time away from home. I often ended up being a surrogate dad, offering advice and support when it was needed.

“When I was approached by OurHouseOurPeople to see whether I would let the house to them with all the tenants being former homeless people, it seemed like a great idea.”

OurHouseOurPeople is a community interest company set up by Ken Davies after Signature Living and its director Lawrence Kenwright last year opened up an office block for homeless people during one of the worst winters the country had seen.

Ken Davies, manager of OurHouseOurHome, explained: “I was managing Kingsway House shelter for Signature Living and wanted to continue to help the homeless problem when it closed.

“I decided to set up supported houses with a view to getting people away from drugs and into training, education or employment, supported by Lawrence. With Mike and a number of other owners, we managed to house 42 homeless people in six months, getting referrals from other agencies such as Addaction, Merseyside Probation Service and various hostels.

“We have even started a project called Anfield Alley Angels which encourages our residents to work voluntarily, cleaning up in the area.

Mike added: “As an individual, I wanted to give something back – we are all just a paycheque away from this being us, so of course I wanted to help. We can’t escape the fact that homelessness is a problem in this city.

“And it’s one thing to chuck a quid into a pot or buy someone a cup of coffee – but to be able to put a roof over their heads is amazing.”

His company RentalStep, based in the Cotton Exchange, Liverpool, was set up in April 2017 to connect tenants with landlords, provide reliable references and log their on-time rental payment history to improve their credit score via a Tenant Passport.

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