Rebecca Wayman

New social fund launches to tackle increasing housing needs across Teesside

Bridges Evergreen Holdings has launched The Ethical Housing Company, an ambitious new property venture with a mission to create a portfolio of well-maintained, affordable homes for rent in Teesside.

The Ethical Housing Company will acquire suitable one to three-bedroom properties in the region, focusing initially on Redcar, Cleveland and the neighbouring boroughs.

Through its partner, The Ethical Lettings Agency (TELA), it will then rent the properties out to people in housing need, including those on benefits, over the long-term.

A lack of other suitable housing means vulnerable people often need to rely on the private rental sector for their accommodation. Often, they face substandard living conditions, with landlords and agencies ill-equipped to support their needs - which leads to unstable tenancies and a risk of homelessness.

There are now an estimated 4.5m people living in poverty in private rented accommodation in the UK, a total that has increased by around 80 per cent since 2007.

Carla Keegans, director of The Ethical Housing Company, said: “I’ve seen from my work with The Ethical Lettings Agency that there’s a real shortage of decent homes to rent for people on low incomes in Teesside.

“Evergreen’s long-term approach and impact focus makes them ideal to build a property company that will increase the supply of well-maintained, affordable homes available, while maintaining our commitment to benefit local communities and housing markets.”

Social entrepreneur, Carla Keegans established TELA two years ago as a community interest company in her hometown, Redcar. Carla, who has previously held senior roles in the local authority housing sector, continues to lead TELA, and will serve as director of EHC.

The Ethical Property Company was launched officially in Redcar this week, with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen also endorsing the initiative as a catalyst for change in the local area.

Ben added: “The Ethical Housing Company will invest millions into the Tees Valley housing market, to provide decent rented housing. It’s excellent that this innovative company is starting in the Tees Valley, and I look forward to working with them over the coming years.”

Bridges has extensive experience in property and housing. It has raised over £500m across four property investment funds.

Scott Greenhalgh, Bridges Evergreen Holdings’ chairman, commented: “We hope the cooperation between The Ethical Housing Company and The Ethical Lettings Agency will demonstrate a model that can be used to address one of the most pressing challenges facing the UK: the lack of decent, affordable homes for rent.

“If we get this right, we have an opportunity to deliver significant long-term impact in Teesside and, over time, beyond.”

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