Renters will be able to access free, specialist support with housing, debt and welfare issues under a new initiative from First Direct, which has partnered with housing and homelessness charity Shelter.
The Home from Home scheme will offer free help to customers of the bank who are private renters. It is expected to eventually be available across the UK although it is initially only available in England.
Over the next 12 months, First Direct will be working with Shelter to ensure private renters can get help with issues they are facing in their tenancy, such as unaffordable rent increases and being served with an eviction notice.
Our partnership with Shelter aims to support private renters who find themselves in difficulty
Chris Pitt, First Direct
According to Shelter, private renters can be particularly vulnerable to financial shocks, as nearly half have no savings.
A team of First Direct staff members will be trained to work alongside experts from Shelter to offer customers support and advice.
Chris Pitt, chief executive of First Direct, said: “No one should face the prospect of homelessness. Our partnership with Shelter aims to support private renters who find themselves in difficulty. We believe that our customers should feel they can come to us for help when they need it.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Rising rents and spiralling living costs are pushing more struggling renters to the brink of homelessness. Every day we help people to find or keep hold of a safe home and our work is as critical as ever.
“Our partnership with First Direct will help their customers access vital housing advice and support at a time when they need it most.”
More information about the initiative is at firstdirect.com/uncovered/shelter/.