Z2K awarded long-term grant from the Nationwide Foundation to support tenant’s voice in the Private Rented Sector

Z2K awarded 3 year grant from the Nationwide Foundation to help tenants who were homeless or vulnerably housed to use their voices and have their stories heard, while campaigning on issues identified by these tenants.

Z2K has been successful in securing £150,000 over three years to ensure tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) have their voices heard and are able to better contribute to the debate around housing in London. Z2K uses client voice and empowerment in everything we do, and this funding therefore feeds in perfectly with our aim to enable individuals to understand their rights and ultimately have a more positive experience of living in PRS. The grant will support our campaigning; leading to specific policy asks relating to affordability and well-being.

The funding has been awarded by the Nationwide Foundation, an independent charity that is supporting private rented sector tenants by giving them a stronger voice in the debates on their personal housing issues or in housing matters in their local area. The Nationwide Foundation helps tenants whose personal characteristics and circumstances mean that they cannot avoid the potential problems of living in the private rented sector – such as insecurity, poor living conditions, high costs and severe lack of choice – and which therefore puts them at increased risk of harm.

Z2K’s Chief Executive, Raji, says: “At Z2K we have housed nearly 300 single homeless people in PRS since 2013. Increasingly we have found it harder to successfully broker relationships between tenants and landlords because of multiple barriers such as high rents, the benefit cap and availability of decent properties. This funding is our chance to work with our tenants and others who are facing these problems to use our evidence more strategically. We will name the faults in the system and campaign for change. Everyone should be able to call London their home despite their income and circumstances.”

As a result of this funding, we have hired our first ever Campaign and Tenants Voice Officer. This new post is a very exciting extension to one of our existing projects – housing single homeless people in the PRS. Through this client facing work, we have built up a body of evidence that demonstrates the multiple ways in which people on the lowest of income in London face barriers to living securely within PRS. With this new funding stream, we have the opportunity to use this evidence to campaign for better access to and experience of PRS for people such as those who use our services.

In line with Z2K’s three year strategy, we will be doing this by empowering tenants that we work with, ensuring that their experiences and voices are heard. We also want to work collaboratively with others in the sector, and build this into our campaigning strategies. We will also continue to house people in PRS, which you can see more information about here.

About the funder:

As an independent charity, the Nationwide Foundation influences changes to improve circumstances for those people in the UK who most need help. Its vision is for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home that they can afford and its strategy seeks to improve the lives of people who are disadvantaged because of their housing circumstances. To do this, it aims to increase the availability of decent affordable homes. The Decent Affordable Homes strategy began in 2013 and the Nationwide Foundation is committed to this strategy until 2026.

This funding has been given as part of the Nationwide Foundation’s Transforming the Private Rented Sector programme. The Nationwide Foundation wants to see a future for private renting where tenants are able to access and sustain their tenancies; where landlords and letting agents deliver a high quality of service to tenants; where tenants have a strong voice in the debates about housing; and where tenants have robust rights which are effectively enforced.

This stream of dedicated funding will strengthen, support and champion the growth of tenants’ voice work, so that private rented sector tenants have more of a say in the issues that affect their lives and homes.

The Nationwide Foundation was established by Nationwide Building Society in 1997 as a fully independent foundation.