A BURY woman is drawing on her experience of being homeless by launching her own business to help vulnerable people find and rent their own accommodation.

At the age of 16, Amy Varle was living in a hostel for the homeless.

Now aged 28 and with an eight-year-old daughter, Amy has set up her own business, People’s Property Shop, which helps vulnerable people find and rent their own homes.

This is thanks to the government’s Start-Up Loan programme, which is helping young people to set up their own businesses.

Amy spent 10 months living in a hostel before being allocated a council flat.

Now she works as a consultant for landlords and letting agents, teaching them strategies for managing tenants on benefits and matching them with tenants who are homeless, with mental health issues, learning difficulties or victims of abuse or violence.

Amy said: “After I got back on my feet, I went on to work in the supported housing field for 10 years, spending the past seven in various local government housing departments. I realised that renting from private landlords was often not an option for people on benefits because letting agents were wary of slow payments and paperwork.

“People’s Property Shop supports both parties to make the relationship work smoothly. We assist each side to complete the paperwork, ensuring the landlord has protection with rent payments.”

She added: “During the past few months, there has been such an interest in our services we are now planning workshops to enable us to deliver much-needed strategies and support to a wider audience. This should result in more alternative housing options being made available to those who need them most.”

The service Amy provides enables homeless people to find a property quickly and often more cheaply than using public housing.

She added: “When I heard about Start Up Loans and the opportunity to become my own boss I jumped at the chance. I received a £4,000 loan to get the company up and running, with a further £5,000 top-up applied for when we were nearing the end of our pilot scheme.

“Knowing that I’m building a business for myself and my daughter, and being able to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people who might otherwise be stuck on housing waiting lists, makes me hugely proud and determined to make People’s Property Shop a big success.”

Visit peoplespropertyshop.co.uk