Katrina and Jo’s story, Oasis Aquila Bond Scheme

Katrina and Jo are two young women from Gateshead who have been living in a tenancy supported by the Oasis Aquila Bond Scheme since the end of 2014.

They got to know each other as young carers who met through a local peer support group. Katrina could no longer stay at home but could not afford to rent a place on her own. The Bond Scheme interviewed them both and suggested that they consider a place with the Sharing Solutions project aimed at helping young people obtain and keep a shared property together.

Restrictions on the housing benefit that young people under 35 are allowed to claim mean that they can normally only afford to rent a room in a property with shared facilities.

We accepted Katrina and Jo onto the scheme and then accompanied them on property viewings in the area that would be affordable and drew up a budget for bills, groceries and other costs.

Having identified a suitable flat the Bond Scheme negotiated with the landlord over the rent and deposit needed and arranged for them to move in. We helped them fill in the necessary forms, checked the tenancy agreement and arranged for payment of the rent to the landlord. To help them set up home we applied for grants for furniture, white goods and household items. We also supported them with moving in and getting utility and council tax payments set up.

They have now been living there together for the past 9 months. As this is their first experience of independent living we’ve helped them deal with issues as they’ve arisen around getting repairs done, checking the rent is being paid and dealing with bills.

Katrina has gone on to secure employment with a large high street retailer in Tyneside and is managing her own finances now. Jo has been training as an apprentice with a local charity and is working towards completion of her qualifications. The Oasis Aquila Bond Scheme will continue to support these women for the remainder of the tenancy and their journey towards independence.