OPINION: Homes are at the Heart of Making Ends Meet

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This week marks the second themed period of the National Housing Federation’s #HomesattheHeart campaign. Last week the drive focused around the idea of how beneficial housing is to the economy, opening employment doors to people who are homeless and the most vulnerable.

This time around sees an emphasis placed on affordable and supported housing. Some of our clients face huge barriers to the housing market, not least unemployment, a poor credit history, debt and arrears, substance or alcohol misuse and difficulties budgeting. With the private rental market commanding high rents and high demand, supported housing provides a lifeline for people who are otherwise marginalised from mainstream housing.

Supporting people through difficult times is essential in our goal of helping some of the most vulnerable people in society into independent tenancies, either with private landlords or mainstream housing associations. Our Tenancy Ready Scheme provides our clients with budgeting and tenancy management skills, allowing people to feel confident in understanding their rights and responsibilities as a tenant, keeping on top of their bills, eating healthily and managing other expenses.

As well as budgeting tips, our clients are supported to keep their home clean and warm, advice about debt management and claiming benefits, drug and alcohol awareness, and guidance on healthy eating. Schemes like this also promote a sense of togetherness and involvement within a community, as many vulnerable people often feel reluctant at first to socialise.

This help provides a real lifeline for people like Laura. After fleeing a previous tenancy, our Bradford Tenancy Support Service helped her become ready to find permanent accommodation. The service supported Laura to become abstinent from alcohol and drug use, and she has now rebuilt her relationship with her daughter and can see her grandchildren.

Supported housing is key to allowing vulnerable and marginalised people to get their lives back on track. If we can help our clients make ends meet now, they will be on their way to their own independent tenancies in the near future.

Paul Gartland, Chief Executive Officer, Horton Housing