Landlords are being encouraged to donate the addresses of their vacant properties as part of a unique bid to stem homelessness.
Dreamt up by architect Chris Hildrey, ProxyAddress allows people to securely borrow a stable, donated ‘proxy’ address duplicated from an existing property. The scheme particularly aims to target the thousands of vacant properties in the UK, owned by councils, housing associations, developers, and individuals – including 270,000 long-term empty homes.
Local services Hildrey says the estimated 320,000 people with no fixed abode can’t access banks, benefits, GPs, libraries, and local services. But by using ProxyAddress, the virtual copy of a physical address is attached to the person, not the place, so it can move with them wherever they go. It also doesn’t impact on the physical address’ post, credit rating, or value – or the residents who might be living there. Addresses initially last six months with the option to extend the arrangement if necessary.
“Developers can have months before their properties are built and lived in, while the addresses of long-term vacant properties can also be put to good use,” he tells LandlordZONE. “We’ve already had a number of small private landlords as well as larger companies offering us addresses.”
De facto ID Hildrey explains that it’s not about using the proxy address to physically receive post but as a de facto form of ID. “It’s about reclaiming independence and helping people get over those hurdles. Once someone has the address, they can get a job, a bank account and then save up for the deposit for a rental property.”
ProxyAddress boasts a 95% success rate in its initial pilot of 50 homeless people in Lewisham, and Hildrey cites examples of those who’ve found work and a private tenancy as a result. It’s now expanding to five new locations including Glasgow, with the aim of rolling the scheme out nationally – and even internationally.
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