East Enders called on to rent out rooms to ease homelessness crisis

A homeless man who credits a charity with getting him back on his feet is urging East Enders to consider renting out a room to help more people escape life on the streets.

After several months sleeping rough, father-of-two Leon Powell found a new home through the help of Quaker Social Action’s Homelink project.

The 39-year-old was working for a housing association in Bow but was left destitute when his contract came to an end and his landlady served notice on all tenants in his block.

Through the project, which is funded by housing charity Crisis, he has just found a new home in Hackney and moved in on Monday – World Homelessness Day itself.

Mr Powell said: “Becoming homeless wasn’t my fault, but it makes you feel very unsure and vulnerable. I was also afraid what employers would think as I couldn’t even put an address on application forms.”

Alongside volunteering for a charity, he is now busy looking for work in the housing, homelessness and substance misuse fields.

Homelink’s organisers are now appealing to people to earn cash by renting spare rooms to responsible lodgers.

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The project is mainly geared towards single people who rarely meet the criteria for social housing and have fallen out of London’s expensive private renting system.

The charity offers advice and training to help its members find shared accommodation, as well as bond guarantees to protect landlords.

Homeowners could earn more than �4,000 per year tax free through the scheme and all potential tenants are assessed and reference checked.

To find out more call 020 8983 5060 or email homelink@qsa.org.uk