Call to help those in need of a place to call home

Welcome mat

Do you have a spare room, an empty property or an unused annexe which could be a home for a person or family in urgent need of somewhere to live in Cornwall? If so, we want to hear from you.

As part of its commitment to tackle the unprecedented pressure on housing in Cornwall and help people struggling to find a secure home, the Council wants to work with residents to make better use of existing houses and buildings.

In return the Council will provide support to help householders manage the practicalities of renting their spare rooms or properties to people in need.

Olly Monk, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for housing and planning said:

“We all need and deserve somewhere safe, warm and secure to live.

“We are already working closely with partners on a range of schemes to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping, increase the availability of homes for local residents, and provide more affordable homes and homes for social rent.

“However, while these initiatives are making a real difference, we know that the impact of the ‘perfect storm’ in the local housing market means that all types of people, including working families, couples and singles, are still struggling to find somewhere to live.

“We recognise that some people who may have spare rooms in their homes, or who have unused annexes or empty properties, can be put off by the practicalities of renting them out. By working with us to provide accommodation for local residents who are facing homelessness, we can offer help and support by identifying potential tenants for spare rooms, or, where appropriate, by leasing and then managing the letting of privately owned properties.”

One of the key housing issues facing Cornwall is the shortage of self-contained properties for longer term accommodation. To help address this the Council has introduced a Private Sector Leasing (PSL) scheme which enables us to lease a property from an owner and then rent the property to an individual or family.

The amount of rent paid to the property owner is in line with the latest Local Housing Allowance. In return the Council provides a full management service during the lease period (typically up to five years), with the property then returned to the owner in the same condition as when it was taken on.

Further information about the Private Sector Leasing (PSL) scheme is available from the Council’s Housing Commissioning team at

Private Sector Leasing

The Council also runs the Cornwall Housing Private Letting service, a high street social lettings agency that can manage an owner’s property as an agent in exchange for a competitive commission.

Private Letting service

Another initiative in place to make the best use of existing accommodation sees the Council partnered with Supportmatch Homeshare and the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum to deliver a new Homeshare Service in Cornwall.

The scheme matches householders with homesharers. A householder is an individual or couple with a spare room that would like practical support around the home, and companionship. A homesharer is someone who needs affordable accommodation and can provide support and companionship to the householder for an agreed number of hours per week. This arrangement doesn’t include providing personal care.

The scheme can improve quality of life for both the householder and the homesharer. Typically support and companionship is offered between 10-15 hours per week. The accommodation provided is very affordable, safe and secure. Both parties are vetted, and safeguarding is a crucial element of the service. The Homesharer can continue their everyday activities such as employment and hobbies because the hours of support are flexible and spread across the weekdays and weekend.

Anyone who has a spare room and would like to find out more can email or call 0203 633 6066.   

SupportmatchThe Council already works with householders to provide accommodation for specific groups of vulnerable people in Cornwall and is keen to build on this support by encouraging more people to come forward to join these schemes.

Current schemes include

  • providing supported lodgings for 16/17 year olds to help them take their first steps to independence, and accommodation for separated children aged 16/17 seeking asylum (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children). These schemes enable young people to become part of the household. As well as receiving rent, providers are expected to give the young person support, encouragement and guidance to develop practical skills and the confidence to live independently.
  • encouraging more people to become foster carers. There are just over 500 young people in care across Cornwall and a large proportion of these are aged between 10 and 17 years old. You could be single or married, live in a flat or house, rent or own, and come from any walk of life, because all you need to be a foster carer is to be able to provide a place of comfort and stability to help a child realise their potential. Fostering transforms the lives of children by providing safe and stable homes for them to thrive. Foster carers provide loving homes to children and young people who are unable to live with their birth families, and enable children to stay in their communities, close to their friends and school.

Further information about all these fostering schemes is available from the Council’s website or by phoning 01872 323638.

Fostering“We are already delivering a number of successful schemes which are helping people in urgent need of accommodation in Cornwall, but we need to do even more if we are going to meet our aim of providing every resident with a secure place to live,” said Olly Monk

“To help us achieve this we are asking the public to come forward with details of any spare rooms and properties we can use to provide accommodation for people in need. In return we will help the householders and property owners by managing the practicalities of renting and manging tenancies. “

More information can be found on the Council’s website 

How property owners can help with housing

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