Homes or Houses was established in 2012 to assist overseas investors with the sourcing and management of Buy to Let Properties in the North East of England. In 2018, Homes or Houses first began a collaboration with Changing Lives providing homes for people supported by the charity. The partnership has helped to provide an alternative route to housing and demonstrated the importance of every person having their own front door.
Clients of Homes or Houses have welcomed the partnership, some of whom now wish to only purchase properties that can be utilised by Changing Lives to support its work.
For Changing Lives this means we’re consulting with people who understand our aims, can provide a good standard of accommodation and can purchase efficiently and effectively. For the people we support, this means we can provide temporary accommodation that is of a high standard, while also facilitating residents’ aspirations and allowing them to feel involved and part of a community.
Working in close co-operation with the Managing Director for Homes or Houses, Jackie Fitzgerald and her team, Changing Lives has been provided with housing stock that expands across much of our work in the North East, with Jackie currently purchasing stock for Changing Lives in Doncaster.
Jackie has a portfolio of investors who also wish to “give back” and support the third sector, with particular emphasis on wanting to provide for those experiencing homelessness. Throughout our collaboration, Changing Lives has been able to anonymously share positive stories with Homes or Houses which has, in turn, given Jackie, her team and her portfolio of investors a strong sense of being part of people’s journeys towards shelter, safety and ultimately, a happy independent life.
What makes the partnership unique is Jackie’s flexibility around rents and refurbishments. For example, she is currently supporting the fitting of blinds and white goods in our larger properties. Jackie said:
“Homes or Houses met Changing Lives when we faced the stark reality that, as property managers, we simply did not have the internal skills, qualifications or experience to deal with the needs of all tenants.
“We needed support with those experiencing difficulties in their lives and those who found it difficult to be accepted as tenants in the private rental sector.
“We moved to educate our clients in the needs of this particular part of the Rental Market and to start to source and purchase on behalf of investors, properties that were specifically required for Changing Lives’ projects.”
Helen Aitkinson, North East Area Manager at Changing Lives, said:
“Jackie and her team provide us with housing stock on both dispersed and larger sites. Our partnership began 3 years ago when we were contacted by Jackie, who loved our ethos and wanted to work with us.”
Jackie said: “As our relationship has grown with Changing Lives, we have come to understand the amazing role the charity plays, the skill, the commitment and determination of their team and the challenges in which they face.
“We are delighted and proud to be partnered with Changing Lives.”