Home Turf Lettingswww.hometurflettings.co.ukThere are hundreds of homeless people in and around Bristol, who would make good,reliable tenants, but they can’t find housing because landlords won’t rent to you if you’rehomeless, don’t have a track record, or are unemployed.This means that they are trapped in a cycle of homelessness or unsuitable housing.Home Turf Lettings is a social enterprise that acts as a safety net. We make it much easierand safer for landlords to let their properties to people in need, thereby helping vulnerablepeople to find and keep a home. We want people to be proud of where they live, feel safeand have a base from which they can get their lives back on track again.It’s very early days for Home Turf – we officially launched in April, and have so far housed 9homeless clients. A charitable grant got us started but we are a social enterprise and needto build a sustainable business model (through management fees and rental income) if weare to survive.We’ll work however our landlords want – from simple tenant-introduction, to rentcollection and full property management services. In suitable cases, we will even lease theproperty ourselves – guaranteeing the rent and giving the landlord a reliable assurance thatthe property will be handed back in the same condition we took it on in (fair wear and tearexcepted). We see this as our ‘unique offering’, as it means we take away all the hassle andrisk – the landlord does nothing except plan how to spend their guaranteed monthly rentalpayment.1: Our BIG challenge:We need to identify, engage and sign up landlords and propertiesHome Turf will live or die by our ability to attract landlords, which is where Good forNothing comes in...2: Our communication challengeWe need to better communicate who we are and what we do through:a) A website, online presence and social media through which we can engage people, network, channel enquiries and grow our database; andb) Refining our messaging / branding and marketing materials
You will see our current website is just a holding page – we need to engage people and growour database of landlords. A couple of ideas we’ve had include a target and moving scale onour website for how many people we’ve housed through the year, and case studies and/or‘headline’ facts to show what it really means to help people in this kind of situation. Someother outputs could be copy, images and other media telling the Home Turf story, or atemplate for a regular newsletter.3: Our marketing challengeInput on our marketing strategy, to produce a realistic action plan for us to move forwardWe have a marketing plan but could definitely do with some creative thought. Our businesstotally depends on reaching landlords and building strong relationships with them – who hasbright ideas about how best to reach our kind of landlord, or how we can stand out fromthe crowd of agencies fighting for their business?4: Our challenge for getting partnersIdentify (and maybe contact!?) potential partners and organisations we could collaboratewith both to find more housing and to improve the experience for our tenantsThis could be a ‘hitlist’ of people/organisations, commercial tie-ups and brand partnershipswhich we may be able to work with, particularly those that can link us with landlords, ormaybe those who could help individuals settle into a new home, get a job or increase theirsecurity. These organisations could perhaps give in-kind support in return for kudos, forexample home insurers, utility companies, DIY stores...the sky’s the limit really.There is more….Home Turf was set up by DHI (Developing Health & Independence), a local charity thatsupports people who are socially excluded for reasons such as homelessness, alcohol ordrug addiction, mental health problems or learning disabilities. We have a sister socialenterprise called The HandyHelp Co which offers training and paid work opportunities tothe long-term unemployed/disadvantaged, through a handyman, gardening, propertymaintenance and repairs service. Among other things, HandyHelp has been involved in therefurbishment of empty homes and will also play a leading role in handling maintenancework on the Home Turf Lettings portfolio. Although this isn’t part of the GoodForNothingbrief, it would be good to reflect this on our website and overall strategy.