Reimagining Rent is The Young Foundation’s ground-breaking initiative to support innovation in the private rented sector (PRS). Six weeks into the programme, what have we learned so far?
1. Innovative solutions exist
One of our big questions, as we embarked on this programme, was: are there any innovative solutions out there? We were particularly interested in ventures that make the PRS work better for people who are vulnerable or on low incomes, are led by capable teams, whose approach is innovative, and whose model can be scaled. We were reassured to receive an exciting set of applications, including a batch with real potential but too early stage for our programme. We eventually selected a cohort of seven organisations that align with our ambitions and that the programme could most effectively support.
2. Innovation in the PRS is possible
The vastness, fragmentation and complexity of the PRS can make its shortcomings seem unsolvable. Despite bringing into sharp focus the many failings of the sector – particularly for people who are vulnerable or on low incomes – our ventures demonstrate that things can work better. While there is clearly no silver bullet for the PRS, each venture is tackling a specific aspect of the challenge. There are common themes and goals emerging among the cohort, including reduced tenant evictions and homelessness, improved choice, increased transparency, more efficient and cost-effective market operation, improved renting experience, better quality of life, early interventions creating savings for the public purse, and a desire to influence wider policy and practice.
3. Targeted support acts as a catalyst to innovation and impact
5 million households in the UK live in the PRS, but what infrastructure exists to support new ideas and creativity that could improve the sector, particularly for people who are vulnerable or living in poverty?
Reimagining Rent is the first initiative of its kind that we are aware of, but we are already seeing the tangible benefits of providing targeted support to our cohort of innovative solutions.
- Equipping the ventures to analyse their models systematically and focus on what they need to prioritise in order to scale up (in our Social Business Model Canvas workshop session).
- Enabling the ventures to really understand and articulate the impact of their interventions, to help them increase their own effectiveness as well as to make a more powerful case to customers and funders (in our Social Value Propositions workshop session).
- Allowing innovators to pool their knowledge, share insights and learn together. We have seen the value of simply bringing these innovators into one place and our cohort approach works to create the conditions for collaboration and more strategic partnerships that could lead to real systemic changes in the PRS in the longer term.
Help us support innovation in the PRS
We are working with some great projects but we would like to support even more. Do you know of any organisations that could benefit from being part of Reimagining Rent? Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow programme updates on Twitter @the_young_fdn and at www.youngfoundation.org/projects/reimagining-rent/