EMMAUS Furniture Mine in Hanley – North Staffordshire’s largest furniture reuse charity
Furnished or part-furnished properties can be viewed as more appealing to a potential tenant when searching for that new home. Having the basics already in situ when moving into an empty flat or house can only ignite a sense of belonging and comfort. For those on a low income the stresses and strains of finding the first months rent is difficult enough, without thinking about how to furnish a property. Those stresses could then spiral into rents not being paid and “moonlight flits” leaving properties empty and costly for landlords.
At Emmaus Furniture Mine in Hanley – North Staffordshire’s biggest furniture reuse charity which is open to the public 6 days a week – not only can single quality items be purchased at affordable prices, but special packages can be tailored to suit all with sales over £50 delivered locally free of charge.
“For many people on a low income or on benefits, finding the money to even buy the core items of furniture needed, even if second-hand furniture, to turn an empty property into a home is simply not possible,” says Emmaus Furniture Mine manager John Webbe.
“An individual or a family not to have a bed to sleep in, or a sofa to sit on, could be extremely detrimental to their long-term mental and physical health. In turn this could affect their ability to work to pay the rent, or to get a job, come off benefits, or affect a child’s education and research has proven this.”
John adds: “Over the years we have worked with a number of landlords to help them furnish, or part-furnish their properties, and they have told us that they have seen the benefits of putting some furniture – whether it is a bed, sofa, armchair or table & chair – into a property. A flat or house with furniture already in it is likely to be more attractive to a prospective tenant than a house which is completely empty.”
Tenants who cannot afford to buy furniture may be able turn to family and friends for help, but that is not always the case and some may go down the route of loans and rent-to-own stores and face paying extortionate levels of interest.
“If people have to borrow money to buy the core furniture and/or appliance essentials for a home then there’s often consequences,” says John. “For instance families might not have enough money to put food on the table, or pay for heating or even keep up with rental payments, so everything just spirals. Therefore a furnished property can have so many benefits.”
Research points to the wider benefits of furnishing properties. A survey by the Furniture Resource Centre (FRC) and Human City Institute (HCI), which was included in a report for a campaign by End Furniture Poverty with social tenants between 2010 and 2014, in urban and rural communities, showed that furniture was one of the most important extras to be provided by landlords to help reduce the risk of debt with legal sharks, rent arrears and abandonments. The survey showed just under 50% of those asked wanted furniture provided directly with younger tenants and lone parents likely to set priorities around furniture when looking for a social rental property.
End Furniture Poverty also state on their website (www.endfurniturepoverty.org) that having a furnished home gives tenants more confidence by removing social stigmas that are created from having no furniture. For example being able to invite family or friends round for meals and having somewhere comfortable to sit all helps to alleviate social isolation and loneliness.
John supports what End Furniture Poverty state, and through Emmaus Furniture Mine he aims to provide a beneficial service to suit landlords and their tenants.
He said: “Research has shown furnished properties are more sustainable and here at Furniture Mine we sell a wide range of items at affordable prices. What we also do is ask landlords to put together a list of the things that they would like and we can provide a budget package which suits.”
Emmaus Furniture Mine, in Cannon Place, Hanley, is owned and operated by Emmaus North Staffs – an independent charity which helps to support the most vulnerable in society, in particular those who have recently been homeless. The two work together to encourage recently homeless people to rebuild their lives in a supportive environment with meaningful work to develop new skills and experiences.
John, who is also executive lead at Emmaus North Staffs, said: “By providing a place of work we can help vulnerable people find their feet again and help with life and employment skills for a better future. At Emmaus North Staffs we value the importance of long term goals for individuals and by having the Furniture Mine shop we are able to help people on their journey, so the two compliment each other – and need each other.”
Emmaus North Staffs aim to become the 30th Emmaus Community in the UK by developing residential accommodation and the first in the country that will not take housing benefit.
“We want to be completely self-sufficient from our own trading income and not reliant on external funding, subsidy, and/or contract income, and it is the shop which will play a huge part in enabling us to achieve that,” adds John.
**To find out how you can help turn a property into a home with Emmaus Furniture Mine contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01782 846111, or just pop into the shop in Hanley at Cannon Place, ST1 4QA for a peak at the hundreds of furniture bargains.