Lucy*, 26, is from Plymouth. She works full-time as a healthcare assistant and ward clerk at the local hospital and has applied for an access course in September to study nursing at University. She is a single mother of three-year-old Matthew who goes to nursery while she is working or attending college to retake her Maths GCSE.

Lucy lives in a two-bedroom housing association property and pays nearly £400 per month in rent. She runs a car and has to pay for childcare, leaving her with little money at the end of the month to save for a deposit to own her own home.

She says: “I would never be able to save up for a deposit with everything I have to pay out every month. At the moment my income isn’t what I hope it will be in the future and because I’m a single mum, I’m not in a position to save for my own home.

“I think there’s quite a long housing waiting list in my area; some people I know are on it and don’t seem to be getting anywhere because there aren’t enough new homes being built. When a recent development went up there were only three-bedroom houses or flats and because I’m in a house now I don’t want to move to a flat so there seems to be a gap in the market.

“Hopefully in ten years I’ll own my own home in a nice area. The most important thing to me is my little boy so I want to live in a nice area for him to go to a nice school.”

*Not interviewee’s real name as she chose to remain anonymous.


Shannell Howe, 38, is a part-time nurse at Derriford Hospital. She is a single mother and lives in Plymouth with her two children, Corey, 17, and seven-year-old Rebecca.

The family have lived in their privately-rented three bedroom terrace house since 2007 and pay £660 per month for their home. Along with household bills, Shannell has to pay childcare costs while she is at work and also runs a car.

She said: “My rent is extremely expensive, a lot more than my mortgage used to be when I was on the housing ladder before.

“When I became pregnant with Rebecca we moved into rented accommodation and now I’m by myself, it’s hard to save to get back on the housing ladder. I have no savings – I basically work to live and that’s it.

“It’s difficult enough to get a mortgage on my own and provide a good credit rating, let alone raise enough money for a deposit, so I haven’t even bothered looking at houses. Years ago, providers used to offer 100 per cent mortgages so it was a lot easier for people to get on the housing ladder.

“Now I’m basically paying somebody else’s mortgage. My landlord owns a few homes as investment for when they retire and my house is in a perfect location, but I know it’s never going to be mine. The landlord could sell at any time and it’s always in the back of my mind that I don’t have any stability. It’s hard to put 100 per cent into somewhere that you know isn’t yours and it’s difficult even to decorate.

“I want a base to call my own that no-one else will take away, and provide a future for my children. A lot of people are in the same position as me and can’t afford to put a deposit down. It would be fantastic to be involved in something like Rentplus and be able to save whilst I pay my rent.

“I want to be financially settled and have a stable and secure future for my children.”


Dawn May, 44, is a part-time support worker at a residential rehabilitation centre. She is currently studying at college and hoping to go to university in September 2015 to study nursing.

Dawn lives with four of her five children, who range from eight to 25 years old, in a five-bedroom mid-terrace Victorian home rented from Tamar Housing Society. While her rent is very affordable, she doesn’t have enough money left at the end of each month to save for a deposit for a house after paying for bills, running a car, and bringing up her family.

Dawn says: “If I had the chance to buy the house we live in now I’d love it. With four children living at home I can’t afford to save for a deposit, which is why something like Rent to Buy would be a good solution for me. There is a real shortage of housing in our area and I think there is a big waiting list, which is why we need new projects like this.

“One of my daughters has a friend who lives in a Rent to Buy house and her mortgage is lower than her rent was, which is amazing really.

“When it comes to housing, it’s really important for me to be close to local amenities as well as schools and once I have a home that’s in a good area like that I wouldn’t want to move, you really have to consider the location.

“Owning my own home would also bring a sense of security. For people my age you also want to leave something for your children when you pass on. At the moment I don’t have any equity so if I don’t have anything, my children don’t have anything.

“In 20 years I’d like to be in a secure home, with no worries about getting evicted and the security that it’s mine. If something were to happen to me or I needed to go into a care home, I’d have collateral to release so I wouldn’t burden my children. A house could do that, and give me the freedom to pass on something to my children as well.”