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Innovative online portal will help Havering's renters on benefits looking for a home

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:47 10 November 2017

The portal aims to help people find homes to rent. Picture: PA

The portal aims to help people find homes to rent. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A new online portal is being launched specifically to help people in temporary accommodation or on benefits find a home.

Housing Connexions, based in High Street, Hornchuch, has created the Help2Rent website, an easy to use interface for residents looking for social housing.

It compiles all of the properties available to renters on DSS in participating boroughs, something sorely missing at the moment.

The council has advised on the project, which Housing Connexions hope will eventually be used across the whole of the capital.

“All of these people, in temporary accommodation hostels or hotels, do not get a choice of where to live,” Paresh Acharya, of Housing Connexions, said.

“However with Help2Rent, when you go into the housing office and they are checking your papers, you can find a place you would like to live.”

The website allows you to input how much housing benefit you receive, and then with each property it will calculate the shortfall.

Paresh said the project was created “because boroughs across London all use different incentives to help people on DSS get housing”.

The company, which represents developers who solely provide social housing, thought there could be a simpler and easier way for residents to find accommodation.

“Landlords receive incentives from councils for giving housing to people on benefits,” Paresh explained.

“However sometimes when an estate agent acts as a middle man, they take the money and the landlord misses out.”

Paresh thinks that if the owners of the houses knew more about the incentives, there wouldn’t be so many signs refusing to take renters on DSS.

“All landlords, developers and agents can upload directly to the portal 24 hours a day, and by doing this Havering will overcome the need for using the more expensive hotels, HMOs and nightly rate accommodations,” Paresh continued.

“This will automatically reduce the amount of people on its housing register as people are moving into properties that they have chosen to live in.”

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